This week Sarah, our President, sent along an interesting article that I thought I'd share with you. The article, "Business is Women's Work," by Mike Clough, focuses on the role women have played in American small (and at times large) business. According to Clough, 'There are 10 million women-owned business in the US today, employing over 13 million people and generating nearly $2 trillion in annual sales". That's impressive, considering Clough himself can remember when women were not allowed in the male-dominated ranks of business management.
More women are attending college. According to an Ohio Statearticle http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/womcolge.htm women have always been on par with men (and maybe a little better, at least when high school grades are concerned). Social norms encouraged women to stay at home. This means that women were not attending college or entering the workforce (or the business world) not because they were not capable, but because they were not encouraged to do so.
And while things have changed in a short period of time, I find myself doubting if we've gone far enough. In fact, I know that we haven't.
When I was 16 (back in 2002), I was told by a substitute teacher that I shouldn't go to college or pursue a career because my place 'was in the home'. While that is a perfectly admirable choice for some, I was insulted that this man insisted that I limit myself based on my gender. And I have heard plenty of similar stories from friends that shows me that, yes we have come a long way, and yes, I have more opportunities than my female predecessors, but there is still lots of room for improvement.
I went to a town hall for then-Senator Obama in the spring of 2008, and one question that I remember was from a fellow female college student. She wanted to know if women would finally receive equal pay. And while there is now an Equal Pay Act, it saddens me that it took so long for that inequality to be addressed.
Clough does make interesting points when trying to explain why women make good businesspeople. He explains that the differences in brain physiology between men and women make them perfect for completing different tasks.
And while this might be true, it shouldn't really factor into why women should be in business. I think we're past excuses. Okay, women are different, but we're still human. Women should create businesses if they want to. They should move up the ranks because they're capable.
Maybe it's wishful thinking, but I hope we're almost to the point when other 16 year-old girls don't need to justify their desire to go to college or start a business.
Jillian Boland, Media Outreach Intern