In case you haven't noticed, the start-up landscape is changing. More and more women are starting businesses, and it's making the business world a better place for everyone.
In 2010, Hanna Rosin wrote an article in the Atlantic called "The End of Men." Among other facts, she noted that women now make up the majority of the U.S. workforce– 54 percent of accountants, 45 percent of law associates and 50 percent of all banking and insurance jobs.
I've been getting to know more and more of my female fellows lately, and I'm learning about the great value women can contribute to the business world. Harold Pinter, in one of his early plays, has a character say, "I know little of women. But I have heard dread tales." Nah. And Sigmund Freud asked plaintively, "What do women want?" (To which Bill Cosby says, "The only thing I have learned in fifty-two years is that women want men to stop asking dumb questions like that.")
Though I can't really prove it, it seems to me that female entrepreneurs are growing in numbers, prominence, confidence, and influence. I do know that 57 percent of college attendees are now women and, according to a new report from American Express Open Forum, more women are starting businesses. According to a report from the State of Women-Owned Businesses, American women are starting 550 new business a day. The women's start-up rate in the last year increased 54 percent, much higher than for men.
Author and business journalist Carol Tice recently wrote on women's increasing presence in business. She cites three reasons:
The growth of women's networking activities. She cites such groups as Ladies Who Launch and Wild Woman Entrepreneurs, but there are many others.
Women are finding more acceptance among angel investors and venture firms.
The Internet, which makes it easier for women to start businesses at home while juggling childcare responsibilities.
A few years ago, Claire Shipman and Katty Kay wrote a story called "Women Will Rule Business" for Time magazine. The story quoted projections from England's Chartered Management Institute which projected by 2018, the world will be much more fluid and virtual, and the demand for female collegiality and management will grow exponentially.
To my mind, women are better team builders than men. And they are better listeners, and generally have open minds. These are good qualities in relating to a modern, less hierarchical workplace.
I also find that women instinctively understand the need for harmony and balance, and they unquestionably understand (much better than men) the value of entrepreneurship in creating happiness, as well as wealth.
So, what do women want? Probably the same damn thing men want.
In a recent biographical movie about Margaret Thatcher, she comments, "If you want anything said, ask a man. If you want something done ask a woman."
TIM ASKEW is the owner of sales firm Corporate Rain International and a member of the Inc. Business Owners Council. He has several advanced degrees and in his life he has been a tennis pro, actor, opera singer, Broadway producer, dish washer, bartender, minister, and college assistant dean. Tim's blog is here. Tim is a member of the Inc. Business Owners Council.