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Why it's time to invest in women

Over the last century, with more women being able to partake in higher education and increased female participation in the workforce, the economic power of women has risen substantially.

Women control $31.8 trillion in worldwide spending, and in the US alone, control or influence 85% of consumer spending.

As well as purchasing for themselves and their partners, as the main primary care person they buy on behalf of children and the elderly as well.

So why then are women almost invisible when it comes to business, marketing, advertising and product decisions, whether it be in boardrooms, conferences, design teams or executive teams? And why don’t companies invest in them?

Female and ethnically diverse entrepreneurs receive 80% less funding than businesses overall, due to the perception of increased financial risk.

A recent study by the School of Business at the University of Auckland, investigated the challenges female entrepreneurs face as they look for investment capital. Interviews with 26 women who were currently raising capital were completed, in addition to interviews with investors – both male and female.

They found when female entrepreneurs had a male business partner, potential investors would talk to the male rather than the female (or both of them), assuming that the male was the sole decision maker.  

Women were also asked questions about their relationship status and if they wanted children, and had comments made about their clothing.

It was clear that women entrepreneurs were faced with the barrier of sexism, while men were not.

The Electrify Aotearoa conference (due to be held this week, but postponed due to COVID-19), aims to build a supportive network for females who have founded startups or are considering starting one.

Run by Christchurch-based business, Ministry of Awesome, the conference wants to help women overcome the obstacles they face in the world of business.

Only 20% of startups worldwide have at least one female founder, even though research showed that women-led startups were more capital-efficient, had a 35% higher return on investment and had 12% higher revenue than male-owned businesses.

Electrify Aotearoa hoped to establish a ‘girls’ club’.

“There’s plenty of boys’ clubs around and no one women’s club that specifically deals with women who are high-growth startup founders,” explained Marian Johnson, chief executive of Ministry of Awesome.

“If you ask me to name 50 male high-growth startup founders I could. Could I name 50 women, not so easily.”

With females leading the way as consumers and reporting higher success as business owners, there should be nothing standing in the way of more women entering the entrepreneurial and business realms. It’s time to invest in women!


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