Entrepreneurship is (or Should Be) Gender Neutral
(3BL Media and Just Means)--I hate the term âfemale entrepreneurship.â We donât call entrepreneurial endeavors led by men, âmale entrepreneurship.â We just call it entrepreneurship. Unintentionally or not, âfemale entrepreneurshipâÂ implies a rare, or âwow, women can start and lead businesses? Really? Since when,âÂ distinction.Â The gap widens as we separate the genders into distinct categories. Iâm not the only one calling for us to crack the glass for equality on this ceiling.
Astia does, too. A San Fran-based nonprofit, Astia funds women-led ventures not because itâs trendy, but because the ventures are highly innovative and high performance. They know that in the last 20 years, because of increased access to higher education and changing views of gender roles around the globe, women are more empowered to launch their own businesses and own organizations with big products for big markets. Astia identifies the worldâs top women leaders and connects them with angel investors for a shift of focus from our differencesâa one percent biological differenceâand social rules to a synergistic alliance among all business leaders.
In a 2014 white paper called Investing in the Success of Women High-Growth Entrepreneurs, their Teams and their Ventures, Astia makes this statement:
âWe are not interested in the overgeneralized, decadesâlong debate on how men and women intrinsically compare as a bifurcated set in terms of their business acumen and performance.Â Â Weâre also not advocating a platform that companies should win investment because women are at the helm.â
Astiaâs interests, however, are to identify companies who manage âtheir inclusivity quotient for high performance by engaging women and men at the top levels of high-growth organizations.â They estimate only 10,000 women âsupernovasâ exist and will reach their pinnacle in their business leadership by 2020.
âThe emergence of a robust marketplace for female entrepreneurial talent allows us then to side-step all the debates and discriminatory practices (intentional or not) that seek to identify some inherent difference in business women and business men that will somehow create a reliable order in a messy, social system influenced by centuries of potent gender rules,â states Astiaâs white paper.
Itâs a theory backed by MIT research. Professor Thomas Malone says that smart teams consist of three components: The average of the social perceptiveness of the group members; the evenness of the conversational participation; the proportion of women in the group. He is quoted saying: âIf a team includes more women, its collective intelligence rises.â
High-performance, impact-driven entrepreneurship is gender-neutral. The more women and men partner together the more we will grow our economy and solve the worldâs most pressing problemsâas entrepreneurs, as business leaders, working together in buildings where ceilings do not exist.Â
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