Where Are All the Female Millennial Entrepreneurs?
Despite discussion saying millennials might not be ready for the real world, real leadership, or real challenges, there are three times as many immediately post-college entrepreneurs as there were two decades ago. Many have taken unemployment and underemployment as an impetus to start something of their own, with millennial entrepreneurs 120% more likely to start businesses as their first job. Twenty-somethings, who are twice as likely to major in entrepreneurship as previous generations, are making their mark as entrepreneurs. So why are so many of them men?
Is it lack of examples?
It might be that there are fewer examples to follow, as Forbes noted in a story which “illustrate[d] a stark drop-off of women in the corporate ranks: 53% of entry level jobs are held by women … but women hold only 37% of mid-management positions and 26% in senior management." By this "measuring stick," Forbes posited, "it’s easy to see that not all women are making it up the ladder."
In 2011, Ooshma Garg the young female entrepreneur behind the San Francisco home-cooked meal delivery service Gobble, said to The Story Exchange, “Being the only woman in a room full of 100 male CEOs, you stand out … [so] you need to be there and prove that you’re paving the way and you’re just as qualified and important as anyone else.”
This might feed into the vision that Forbes reported in another story stating that “according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, 47.7% of women versus 62.1% of men believe they are capable of starting and running a business.”
Lack of coverage?
Maybe it’s just that women in business don’t get highlighted as much as they should outside of say a Forbes Woman or The Jane Dough-esque forum, and when they do, things go terribly awry like with Complex’s hottest women in technology piece.
Take a peek outside men’s mags and the results are only slightly different. In USA Today’s 2011 finalists for America’s Best Young Entrepreneurs, out of 25 companies there were two that were founded exclusively by women and another two that were co-founded with women, including notables Hercampus.com and Texts From Last Night. A list of next-gen female entrepreneurs, as they are noted by CNN Money lists just eight with notable comments about gender in business as well.
"In a male dominated industry, you can still excel if you work really hard and follow your dreams," Misa Chien of California-based Nom Nom Truck told CNN Money.
Or just lack of support?
The largest and most legitimate problem is one that all female entrepreneurs face: “Nearly half of all new businesses in this country are launched by women, yet businesses started by men are three-and-a-half times more likely to reach $1 million in annual revenue,” according to Fox Business.
This is a startling statistic, but one that will hopefully change with 1 billion women entering the workforce in the next decade.
Supporting women in business through programs such as Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneurial Winning Women, groups like Young Female Entrepreneurs and the Female Entrepreneur Association or organizations like the Levo League and Project Eve.
It may not change everything, but it’s a good start.