Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"Stop Telling Women To Do Startups"

That's the headline of this piece, in which Penelope Trunk (who's founded three startups) argues:

If you are worried that women don’t feel capable of doing whatever they want, you can stop worrying. Women outperform men in school at such a huge rate that it’s easier to get into college as a male than a female. And women take that to the bank by earning more than men in their 20s. Women would probably continue out-earning men except that when men and women have kids, women choose to downshift way more often than men do.

Clearly, women have a choice. There are plenty of opportunities out there for women if the women would just continue working in their 30s the same way they did in their 20s. So clearly, women don’t want to. Women are choosing children over startups.

So it seems that women are making decisions for themselves just fine. It’s just that they are not the decisions that men make. This should not surprise anyone. Men and women are different. So what?

On top of that there is evidence that the members of the VC community go out of their way to attract women. Of course, this makes sense. VCs look for underserved markets. Women are likely to address different markets than men, and since there are so few women founders compared to men founders, it’s likely that women are addressing an underserved market. So VCs want to talk to women.

So VCs are definitely giving women a fair shake, it’s just that women don’t pitch. And women are definitely feeling that they can do whatever they want, it’s just that women aren’t choosing to create tech startups. . . .

I have an idea: How about giving some respect to women who grew up in the 1970s, with feminist revolution baby boomer moms, and are still brave enough to say “I don’t want to work full time. I can work full time. But I don’t want to.“
The whole thing is worth reading. Of course, the real point is much broader than just startups and venture capital.


Ron said...

I often wish we had more sophisticated work models than either "employee" or "entrepeneur". Both are more constricting than I think people want...and both are probably ineffective uses of people's talents.