Did you ever think why there still are more men pursuing their dreams as entrepreneurs than women? According to a recent study on female entrepreneurship in Finland, there are no significant differences between male and female entrepreneurs when it comes to the profitability or growth appetite of the companies they run. Women, like men, are also just as likely to be active owners behind more than just one company.
A notable difference, however, arises when looking at the reasons behind taking that often daunting step towards becoming an entrepreneur. Men, as opposed to women, have significantly more role models or close acquaintances that have encouraged them to take that big leap towards becoming an entrepreneur. A story similar to what we hear in connection to leadership overall.
That got me to thinking about all the inspiring stories written by female entrepreneurs I’ve read on this DrivenWoman blog and the brilliant entrepreneurial women I have met at DrivenWoman group meetings in Finland and what they seem to have in common.
Women entrepreneurs talk about pursuing their dreams.
Many of the female entrepreneurs that I have encountered through DrivenWoman and elsewhere have talked about the freedom of pursuing their dreams and making a living their way, in contrast to the customs and norms that reigned in their previous workplaces. Women talk about the liberty of putting their unique strengths into full use and putting their own touch on whatever they do.
A study by Paypal found that entrepreneurship is one of the key drivers for women to escape the corporate world, 55% of aspiring female entrepreneurs stated they wanted a better work-life balance.
Whilst at it, I had a rather interesting, even radical thought that I started to explore further: what if the present structures, norms and ways of working are not making the best use of our full potential because they haven’t been created and designed by us in the first place?
Most of the prevailing institutions both in business and government have, after all, been built by men.
With a feminine perspective often missing from the get-go, it can be tiresome for women to navigate and prosper in an environment that is based on hard, masculine values and ways of operating.
Many women power through regardless, reach those positions of leadership and slowly pave the way for the rest of us. Thankfully softer, feminine values are starting to be appreciated in business by both women and men alike, and can arguably even lead to better results. Some women, however, choose to opt out, build their own companies and organizations and, consequently, seem to live rather fulfilled lives both professionally and personally.
My question for you, ladies, is: should we aim for an even bigger change than just relentlessly pushing for those glass ceilings to break?
Should we, instead, focus more on building our own empires, based on thinking and processes that come natural to us and make the most of our talent and abilities?
And why not invite any men that share our ways and values to come along and join us. Hell, maybe these empires would actually be more competitive and solve some of our world’s problems better than the currently predominant ones have been able to do!
What do you think ladies, am I being a bit too utopian here, as one bright and well-meaning man noted. (They have a such a nice way of trying to silence us, haven’t they!) Would we be better off if women took over the leading roles in innovation and entire industries? I’d love to hear how this all resonates with you, and how your experiences with entrepreneurship compare.
And let’s keep on inspiring and encouraging each other to share our ideas, experiences, setbacks and successes, and to have the courage to do our own thing, be it through enterprising or any other means!
– Tuuli. Tuuli Makela is a DrivenWoman member in Finland.