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Why I Want to See More Female Entrepreneurs

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Why I Want to See More Female Entrepreneurs

When I look at how the world has changed, it’s remarkable to witness the boost in affluence that women have achieved. A little bit north of 40% of Americans earning over $500k are women. We control over half of the private wealth in this country. Our incomes have risen higher than men’s have in the recent past, and we are now in control of most of the household spending. So we’re getting there, but there is still something missing. [1]

Here’s what’s not there yet: ownership. Women still don’t own enough property.

While we’re investing in stocks of other people’s companies more than ever before, we still aren’t investing enough in ourselves. Indeed, less than one third of private businesses are owned by women.[2] We don’t own enough assets yet, and ownership brings several key advantages. The owner has control. Control begets freedom. Working as hard as we do for other people, we’ll never be completely free. Not until we own.

What is standing in our way are several factors, most of them psychological. There is cognitive bias at work here. We have been subconsciously taught to follow, not to lead. We’re just not used to seeing tons of other females owning businesses, so we are less likely to see this for ourselves. In some (but not all) professions, it can be harder to gain credibility as a woman. For many women, the idea of being alone running a business is uncomfortable. Perhaps this is because we are the gender that is socialized to be more sensitive to others. And lastly, there is a negative stigma attached to women who are aggressive. Many times, being bossy and in charge can be seen as unfavorable for a woman, whereas it is a source of esteem for a man.

We’ve got to redefine our mindset to take our ambition one step further and go all the way. Instead of working so hard to make other people’s companies rich, we should invest in ourselves and make our own companies rich.  We’ve got to give ourselves the chance to be free instead of waiting for someone else to do so.

For a numbers of years I had a business investing people’s money. Now, please note that I was not only a financial advisor (who directs money to the person who actually makes the investment decisions) but also I was the person responsible for doing all the mathematical analysis and coming up with my own original investment recommendations. Stats show it is very unusual for a female to be doing this as her own shop; it’s a male dominated field. High risk, high liability, long hours, high degree of technical complexity. And on the rare occasion that I met other female money managers who had their own firms, we used to have this joke that it was like being in the desert and seeing a water tower and thinking it was too good to be true. Like a mirage, we weren’t sure whether or not to believe it when we met another female money manager.

That is how I would describe my experience being a female entrepreneur; like being alone in the desert. But I’m ready for a change. My dream is gender equality and I’m hungry to see this roll. I wanna see more female entrepreneurs. Instead of a desert barren and empty of female money managers, I want to see football stadiums full of women business owners cheering because they are winning the game.

[1] Nicholas, Judith E. “My Nichols’ Worth: Understanding the Increasing Affluence of Women.” Supporting Advancement, Supporting Fundraising. http://goo.g/HXBbwM

[2] Thebaud, Sarah. “Why Are There So Few Women Entrepreneurs?” Newsweek, March 3, 2015. http://goo.gl/nQdBsc

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