For a long time now I’ve been meaning to write a post on women and gender issues, with the exact angle TBD – women in entrepreneurship, women in angel investing, women in tech, and women in business all seemed relevant topics. Those who know me are aware of my obsession with the topic after years of reflection magnified by two pregnancies and a maternity leave consumed with reading every book on career and motherhood I could find. From The Feminine Mystique through the Feminine Mistake, I have read them all. And yet, I’m continuously hit by daily insights in my professional setting.
Truth be told, the angle that I personally obsess about is not that of women in business, but mothers in business. I actually think that the progress we’ve made on the women front is significantly greater than that we’ve made on the mothers front. As I see more and more of my brilliant Wharton MBA friends (and others from HBS, Columbia, etc.) “opt out” of the workforce to raise families, I mourn the loss of their talent and leadership capability. It means more senior, lucrative positions will continue to be held by men (often with stay-at-home wives), only to perpetuate the cycle of economic dependence and concentration of power. Unfortunately, rather than rewarding (or at least protecting) women who stay home to raise kids during their tender years, the marketplace actually punishes them. A two-year stint at home can easily become a decade-long – with no viable return.
And that’s where entrepreneurship comes in. While corporate America and traditional business jobs hesitate tremendously to bring back to the game women who’ve been in babyland, entrepreneurship is blind. Entrepreneurship is meritocratic. Entrepreneurship has its own rules. Entrepreneurship provides a big, wide-open door to everyone, provided you have the guts, the hunger, the obsession, the desire, the wit, and the creativity. Resume gaps become irrelevant. The power of your idea and execution are all that matters. And trust me – talented businesswomen who spent time in babyland are often hungrier than any other types I know.
That’s why I’m so proud that we have partnered with Astia for our International Women’s Day Scholarship program. Gust has a long history of support for female entrepreneurs, and we aim to make this a recurring project. Spread the word and promote this initiative. If you’re an entrepreneur, apply. If you’re an investor, encourage the women entrepreneurs in your network to apply.
Thank you again for your continued support as we venture forward!