This is a tough post for me to write, because I think of myself as an entrepreneur, not a “woman entrepreneur” and half of the time, I forget that I am female. I hate the idea of even calling out the difference between the sexes, but there are certain times when the fact that there is no woman at the table is absolutely glaring.
Looking at the New York Times business best seller list, there is rarely ever a woman’s name that pops up. In fact, the few times there are, it is often a celebrity (like Suze Orman or Ivanka Trump). With all of the smart business women out there (and 52% of new businesses being started by women), where are the ladies?
The online gurus- When you hear about the thought leaders, you hear about the Seth Godin’s, the Gary V’s, the Brian Solis’s, the Chris Brogans, the Guy Kawasaki’s, and so on and so on, who are all brilliant and deserving of the attention and accolades. But, despite again the many women having really compelling messages, I rarely, if ever hear a woman’s name mentioned in the same company, or at least with the same reverence. Where are the ladies?
In fact, the lack of women speaking at TED conferences made the organizers come up with the genius idea of having a TED Women conference. But that misses the point. We don’t want to be singled out and we don’t want to be given a seat at the table just because we are women either.
So, where are the ladies and why are we not represented at the highest level of business? There are certainly many women who should be at the table, not because they are women, but because they are deserving and are conspicuously still absent. In a recent discussion with a high profile business publication, I was invited to become a contributor. The senior editor named all of the other business contributors and absent me, they were all men. Despite the fact that 52% of all businesses are started by women currently, the business advice is being given by men.
Ironically, Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg gave a really compelling talk at TED Women on the lack of women leaders:
If you are in a substantial position, think about whether you are missing out on having a woman at the table to add to the conversation. Seth Godin showed his leadership in this area with his “FeMBA” intensive free workshop for women entrepreneurs. Chris Brogan showed his leadership in this area by inviting both Liz Strauss and me to become founding contributors to the Escape Velocity blog, and quickly adding Pam Slim and Alexandra Levit to the team as well. Michael Port shows his leadership with ongoing support of many female entrepreneurs (myself included).
I think that it’s time that we make sure that we are all supporting the women too. Not just for being a woman- that’s lame and defeats the point- but because there are some very compelling messengers out there that the world is missing out on, possibly because the message comes in a pair of high heels.
What do you think of this issue? How can we encourage the recognition of more of the top-tier female business leaders, authors and entrepreneurs?