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WOMEN IN BUSINESS
Start Me Up
Women are an increasingly powerful force in entrepreneurship. According to experts, a number of factors, including marketplace trends, increased financing options, and greater access to mentors and role models are encouraging women to enter the start-up scene.
In recent years, the rate of female entrepreneurs has been growing at a percentage double to that of their male counterparts. Across 40 economies that participated in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey between 2011 to 2016, women’s entrepreneurship rates increased by 13 percent on average versus 5 percent for men.
Although they’re on the rise, women-funded start-ups tend not to achieve the same level of growth as men’s. Entrepreneurship researcher Arnobio Morelix says, “Female owned businesses in general still start smaller and stay smaller.”
Only 3 percent of women-owned firms in the U.S. have high economic impact, generating $500,000 or more in revenue, compared to 9 percent of male-owned businesses. A recent survey by the Kauffman Foundation points to funding challenges as a barrier to growth, finding that more than 72 percent of women entrepreneurs cited difficulties gaining access to capital, and a 2016 TechCrunch study confirmed that between 2010 and 2015, only 10 percent of the total venture capital around the world went to women.
Read more here.
WOMEN IN POLITICS
On Tuesdays, We Wear White
When President Trump addressed Congress for the first time in his presidency on Tuesday night, Democratic Congresswomen made a sartorial statement in all white.
Their outfits were meant to evoke the women’s suffrage movement, when suffragettes wore white during protests and demonstrations. Today, the image of female politicians wearing white suits is especially poignant. Hillary Clinton wore a white pantsuit when she became the first woman to be nominated for president on a major party’s ticket, and when she watched Donald Trump become the 45th President of the United States.
The call to wear white was organized by the House Democratic Women’s Working Group as a symbol of the “ongoing fight to attain equal rights for all women.”
“We wear white to unite against any attempts by the Trump Administration to roll back the incredible progress women have made in the last century,” declared Rep. Lois Frankel. “And we will continue to support the advancement of all women.”
Read more here.
WOMEN IN ADVOCACY
Tricks of the Tradies
Historically in Australia, fewer than 2 percent of tradespeople in the construction, auto and electrical industries are women. After 25 years of this number barely shifting, a new wave of female “tradies” has emerged.
Many of the women in this new generation meet each other on the job at the YWCA, one of Australia’s oldest women’s organizations that offers services and resources to women in vulnerable situations. The majority of the tenants at the YWCA have experienced trauma or been the victims of domestic violence. Because of this, many are uncomfortable having a man in their living space. But there has to be skilled worker on hand for when things go haywire in the shelter: that’s where the female tradies come in. Not only do they stop leaks or change light fixtures, they also help inspire the women to become tradespeople themselves.
YWCA Victoria introduced a policy two years ago to only allow solely female workers to maintain all their owned and managed properties. CEO Jan Berriman says that residents feel safer and more secure with only women in the shelter, and that these strong, empowered professional women serve as excellent role models.
Berriman believes that “getting more women into trades traditionally done by men, is crucial to addressing a number of inequities, including the 17.3 percent gender pay gap in Australia.”
Fixing the plumbing and empowering women, these tradies are a force to be reckoned with.
Read more here.
WOMEN IN SPORTS
Fatima Al Ali is challenging preconceptions of what a hockey player looks like. This February, the 27 year-old from the United Arab Emirates flew from Abu Dhabi to join the National Hockey League’s Hockey is for Everyone celebration.
Despite having only played hockey for six years, Al Ali’s puck-handling skills were so impressive they caught former Washington Capitals star Peter Bondra’s attention. Bondra posted a video of her playing to his Twitter with the caption, “She has better hands than me,” and the video went viral. A few weeks later, he surprised Al Ali with a trip to meet his team, coincidentally, her favorite in the NHL.
Back at home, Al Ali plays for the UAE’s women’s national team and referees men’s games. On top of being a talented hockey player, Al Ali is fearless on the ice. She recounts a recent game she refereed where she ended up getting punched in the face breaking up a fight — but that didn’t stop her from finishing the game.
Al Ali hopes she can be an inspiration and strong role model for girls everywhere. Her advice to them: “Have a dream, just go make it come true.”
Read more here.
Right Down the Middle
In today’s partisan climate, not taking a stand can seem revolutionary. Despite catering to a largely liberal, female, millennial audience, theSkimm has managed to stay politically neutral. Co-founder Danielle Weisberg says, “The point of theSkimm is not to represent a point of view; it’s to call things out and cut through the weeds and explain what’s going on.”
The approach seems to be working. Since it’s launch in 2012 as a daily newsletter summarizing the day’s top stories, the brand has grown steadily and now reaches an audience of 5 million across various platforms.
Read more here.
WHAT ELSE WE’RE READING
- CNN Tech reports that Lego will debut a new set that immortalizes five female scientists for NASA.
- Bentley University, led by its first female president Gloria Larson, is creating a program to award $40,000 to female freshmen who show significant leadership potential, per the Boston Globe.
- The New Yorker profiles Melina Matsoukas, the visionary director behind some of Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga’s most iconic music videos.
- The New York Times Editorial Board asks why there are so few women in state legislatures.
- Lenny interviews Moonlight editor Joi MCmillon, the first black woman to be nominated for an Oscar for editing.
- Rumana Ahmed, a Muslim woman who served on the National Security Council, explains why she left the Trump administration after only eight days, in The Atlantic.