The more things change, the more they stay the same. For more than thirty years, women have been starting businesses at about double the rate of men. For many, this was the result of hitting the glass ceiling or discovering that they didn’t want the long hours and imbalanced lives, poisoned corporate culture, and work that didn’t give them a feeling of significance, of doing what really mattered to them.
Although men were most affected by job loss in the Great Recession, during the recovery, while men are gaining jobs, women are actually losing them by the hundreds of thousands. Even women at the top aren’t safe: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, fired, criticized for characteristics that no one would bat an eye at in a man; Wall Street maven Sallie Krawcheck, known for her integrity and directness, first “restructured” out of Merrill Lynch, then fired from Bank of America, where she had headed the Global Wealth & Investment Management division.
They had managed to rise above the glass ceiling only to have it shatter beneath their feet. For other women, this ceiling has gotten impossibly low.
Predicting where these facts are leading us is a no-brainer—the number of women-owned businesses will likely increase at an even faster pace. Add to this group the people hitting the silver ceiling, especially in this economy, and we can see that the future for many women, over 50 especially, will be in entrepreneurship.
Women mean business.
According to the Center for Women’s Business Research, “If U.S.-based women-owned businesses were their own country, they would have the 5th largest GDP in the world, trailing closely behind Germany, and ahead of countries including France, United Kingdom and Italy.”
Think about what this means, about the impact we can have on the world simply by following our own lead, standing in our own shoes, and building our businesses on the visionary voice we all have inside us. Now is the time to leverage change to our advantage, to reinvent ourselves and our world through innovative and conscious businesses that hit the Triple Bottom Line: People, Planet, Profits.
Now is the time for women to lead the way into a greater future for all of us. For we women—at every age and stage—are the visionaries we’ve been waiting for!
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