First, the good news. Women have become a business force to be reckoned with. They contribute more than $3 trillion to the economy and own about 36% of our nation’s businesses. And get this: businesses with female founders perform 63% better than those run by all-male teams.
Pretty darned impressive. In fact, The Economist was sufficiently impressed to proclaim, “The economic empowerment of women across the rich world is one of the most remarkable revolutions of the past 50 years.”
Now, the bad news. In 2017, women-led businesses only received about 2% of the $85 billion invested by venture capitalists. Digging deeper into these statistics reveals that all-male teams received $79 billion, while the remaining 19% was claimed by mixed-gender teams.
Believe it or not, this investing disparity is actually smaller than it’s been in the past. But it’s still a stark example of the difficulties women face in the world of entrepreneurship.
Many women have experienced various examples of the “boys’ club” that persists in the business world. And rather than simply accept that the deck is stacked against them, more and more women are forming “girls’ clubs” – including everything from coaching programs to female-only coworking spaces.
Research shows that when women network with one another, the results are powerful. One study from Conferences for Women found that attendees at their events essentially doubled their likelihood of receiving a promotion. Perhaps even more importantly, 78% percent of attendees said they felt more optimistic about their business future.
As the positive impacts of women networking events ripple out through various industries, they’ve become more popular. Taking cues from COO Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook is launching a Community Finder tool with its #SheMeansBusiness program. This tool will help female business owners in 23 countries connect, share advice, exchange resources, and ultimately, grow their businesses.
As part of the initiative, Facebook is also hosting “Open Door” events at their offices in many countries. Women will be invited to networking nights, as well as workshops on various topics.
With more networking options, modern women are getting opportunities that their predecessors never had. A report from Inc.com points out how important this is for current female entrepreneurs. And how much of an impact it’ll make on the future generations of women.
“We must pay it forward,” concludes the article. By connecting with younger entrepreneurs and providing a positive role model and practical resources, they’ll get opportunities that prior generations could only have dreamed of.