Where Are the Women Entrepreneurs?

I last night spoke at an event, which NAAAP Boston sponsored. It was a fun and lively crowd. There was a lot of back and forth and a lot of honest discussion.

One person asked for my perspective on the dearth of women entrepreneurs. It is something I’ve often observed at meetings and Meetups, whereby men are numerous and women are not.  As a father, it is something I think about.

Frankly, I didn’t have any good answers on why this phenomenon exists. So, I asked the women in the audience what they thought.  There were some very interesting opinions. No one mentioned that she had felt discriminated against, but one woman did say that the trade-off between career and family is a real and difficult choice.

Now, I know many people have blogged about this topic. My classmate, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, has been particularly vocal and thoughtful about the need for more women executives. Her talk at TED is below.

I wish I had more answers, both as a VC, and, in particular, for my daughters. I often tell my girls to strive to be independent and not to rely on “someone else.” I tell them to ignore the Disney movies whereby a female character looks to be saved by a handsome prince and who will then make everything all right for her.

Instead, I tell them that all is make-believe. I want my girls to view life realistically.

4 thoughts on “Where Are the Women Entrepreneurs?

    1. Very cool stuff, Brad. How am I not surprised that you’re involved with such a good cause? Will follow up with you offline….

  1. Jo, we NAAAP Boston loved having you speak with our group. Your stories really resonated, thanks so much.

    In our NAAAP Boston entrepreneurship track we see plenty of women eager to explore and test their new business ideas. In many cases the ideas are to offer a “traditional” service (personal services, professional services, food, clothing, etc.), where technology is a key enabler, but not the core of the business. There are many geek-heavy networking forums focused on high-octane technology/internet/science-centric businesses. Perhaps those forums are not as directly useful to many of the women entrepreneurs. I’m sure other, more suitable forums exist or are unfolding, maybe not obviously labeled as entrepreneurship activity.

  2. Joe,
    Thank you for blogging about this important topic. Women represent 13% of CEO’s in the US. Being a female CEO in the high tech industry; I too think a lot about this topic. I too do not believe discrimination is the problem and I agree that the trade off between career and family is most challenging. In addition, training/mentoring seems to be big hole for women and their bosses. I am very thankful to have been hired and mentored by men who never let sex, religion, age, race or the lack of Ivy league degrees get in the way of fostering talent and providing opportunity for myself and many other women and men. Please let me know if I can help with the programs you are supporting. Last but not least; fathers like you will make a significant impact in how young women’s growth. Disney absolutely does serious damage for how young women perceive their futures! You have my vote for Father of the year; right after my pops!

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