I recently participated in a fantastic workshop on the topic of Women and Power. It is a topic as a female entrepreneur I find myself pondering. In this workshop we reviewed the amazing statistics about how women have progressed through the years by gaining higher degrees of education, more management positions. However we are still woefully behind our male counterparts in positions of clout. What is a position of clout? CEO, COO, President, Etc.
Another interesting idea presented is that women often don’t aspire to a particular named position but rather to type of work. I think back to my blog on mind mapping. I know that I have always imagined the type of work I wanted rather than the name of the position.
As the field of women entrepreneurs expands I find myself wondering if this is also part of the archetype that drives women to entrepreneurship. We know no glass ceiling when we are creating the workplace. We also seek to create the work we love rather than to strive for position. I am curious about this.. other women entrepreneurs please weigh in!
Recently I read a post by Huffington Post blogger, Patricia Handschiegel. She asserts that there is ”a new breed of female leader taking over the country: “Power Girls” — entrepreneurial dynamos who are taking lead roles in both business and their communities.” She says that these women are inspired by icons like Oprah and Hillary Clinton, these fresh female powerhouses have already learned that giving back is just as important as staying on top.
As I meet the extraordinary women entrepreneurs who we spotlight at Getyourbigon.com. I am amazed at how many of these entrepreneurs are not just giving back but making it there life’s work. North Jersey mom Filomena Laforgia in July 2010, four years after her three-year old son was diagnosed with autism founded Filanthropists.com. Her site is a one-stop online shopping mall for the purchase of cause-related products. The site features a variety of products from merchants and local and national organizations that are committed to the sale of these products to support fundraising efforts for their specific cause. The site’s name not only plays on the founder’s first name, but also shows how a socially conscious individual can make a difference through the simplest of acts. By buying a cause-related product, we can all be Filanthropists.
Similiar to Filomenia’s story is that of Tania Mulry’s. Tania is an entrepreneur who used the experience with her child to inspire her to use her talents to help others. She quit her stable job creating mobile marketing campaigns for big brands to launch an idea that she had to help address the nation’s school funding problems. This 37-year-old mother of three had grown frustrated by the constant flow of fundraising requests from her boys’ school, but also couldn’t stand the idea that teachers use hundreds of their own dollars to purchase classroom supplies every year. She knew there had to be a better way. So she devised, designed and developed a new mobile application that pairs companies’ need to attract loyal consumers and educators’ need to obtain supplies for their students. The app, called edRover, just became available for free through the iTunes App Store with versions for other popular smartphones to follow later this year.
The findings, reported in Time magazine, paint a flattering picture of female philanthropists and a less attractive one of their male counterparts. Women at nearly every income level are more generous givers — and not only do they give more than men, they give more often.
Next meet Jacqueline Novogratz founder and CEO of the Acumen Fund. Jacqueline is definetely a women who gives back. The mission of the Acumen Fund is to create a world beyond poverty by investing in social enterprises, emerging leaders, and breakthough ideas. Jacqueline authored The Blue Sweater, the memoir of her quest to understand global poverty and to find powerful new ways of tackling it. It’s a powerful read.
Elizabeth Blackwell organized the Women’s Central Association of Relief during the Civil War. She trained nurses for war service. Elizabeth, along with Emily, and Mary Livermore, played important parts in developing the United States Sanitary Commission.
Shortly following the war, the sisters established the Women’s Medical College in New York. Blackwell served as the professor of hygiene until 1869, when she moved to London to help form the National Health Society and the London School of Medicine for Women.
So what do you think? are women the more generous sex? are women entrepreneurs who give back a new breed? Does gender matter or are many entrepreneurs giving back?