Corpcentre's Blog

March 17, 2010

The Challenges of Female MBA’s

With few exceptions, the business world has never been a bed of roses for women. In a society that still views business primarily as a “man’s world,” women, despite their capabilities and qualifications, continue to fight an uphill battle for equality that is due them.

A recent study conducted by Catalyst, a non-profit organization for women in the workplace, compared 9,000 male and female MBAs entering the workforce over a ten year period. 46 percent of the males received entry-level positions while 60 percent of the women were hired at an entry level, despite the same level of professional experience for both gender groups. Likewise, the men earned $4,600 more at their first jobs.

One of the reasons given for the parities is not prejudice but practicality. Most companies hire employees with a long term plan in mind. It is anticipated that young women entering the workforce after college will have children within a certain period of time, thus disturbing the succession planning of the company. Thus, businesses prefer to invest more in men, anticipating longevity with the company. Women, themselves, admit that family commitments may disrupt their careers and, therefore, they tend not to lobby and pursue the top positions.

The point was driven home in another study conducted jointly by the Columbia Business School and the Women’s Executive Circle of New York. The study went beyond entry levels and found that the disparities plague women throughout their careers. In examining women’s roles at the 100 largest public corporations based in New York, less than 11 percent of the C-level positions were held by women.

Women are making strides in the business world but the progress is slow. Companies do want equality but this will only occur when the business world attunes itself to the needs of the cultural world, allowing the business world to benefit from the many qualified and experienced women available, while modifying to meet the needs of the women’s lifestyles.

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March 12, 2010

More Capital for Women Entrepreneurs in Canada!

Let us not be fooled! In this era of civil rights and equality for all, women entrepreneurs are still fighting an uphill battle with the business community. For the last 18 years, a federally incorporated, non-profit organization known as “Women Entrepreneurs of Canada” has been dedicated to serving the interests of established women in business.

In Canada, 40% of all new start-up businesses are owned by women. Across the nation, Canada’s top 100 companies account for 1.5 million jobs. In comparison, companies owned or led by women account for more than 1.7 million jobs. Furthermore, the number of women-owned start-ups is growing at twice the rate of those by men. The list of comparative statistics goes on but the point is crystal clear. Women entrepreneurs are major players in the Canadian business market. Yet, despite their numbers and influence, women in business still play second fiddle to their male counterparts.

This point is driven home quite clearly when women seek capital for development and growth of their businesses. One reason for the restrictions on capital available to women is the tendency of women to own and operate smaller businesses that are slower to grow and are considered higher risks such as retail and service.

Be that as it may, Women Entrepreneurs of Canada have called upon the Prime Minister to realize the plight of women in business and to address the needs of this substantial segment of the population accordingly. They recommend that the federal government develop an economic assistance program aimed at women owned small and medium sized businesses. Furthermore, they propose that the government develop support programs for women to provide access to technology and management training. This support should also finance and promote international women’s trade missions.

Aside from government action, women entrepreneurs should form business alliances to share information and resources as well as establishing joint ventures to bid on large contracts. Women in the business world should share information as much as possible and use their contacts and knowledge to help others advance the cause of women entrepreneurs across Canada.

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March 3, 2010

Female Entrepreneurs – Unite!

No longer can it be said that business is a man’s world. Female entrepreneurs are an integral part of the business world. According to a report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Canadian women comprise 30% of business across the nation. This percentage is larger than any other country. In the United States, during a ten year period beginning in 1997, businesses owned by women grew at double the national rate of all U.S. private businesses.

So, the good news is that women are making their mark on business in substantial numbers. The bad news is that they are not using these numbers for any collective purpose or advantage.

There is power in numbers. However, most female entrepreneurs seem to prefer worrying only about themselves. An umbrella organization, Women Entrepreneurs of Canada, whose mandate is to create a more collaborative climate for women business owners, is fighting an uphill battle, as reported to a small core group of members at a recent meeting of the organization.

Rather than share ideas and efforts, the group reported that female business owners prefer to do for themselves and not share. Sharing resources and ideas is simply not the norm in female businesses, leading to duplication of efforts and a loss of a potentially powerful female lobby.

Men invest more time and energy developing their businesses. Thus, women cooperating with each other could greatly strengthen their businesses by uniting their efforts. Also, women are less confident than men in certain key business tasks and could certainly benefit by supporting each other to get over hurdles.

On the other hand, in a male dominated world, women still encounter certain prejudices in business. A strong female lobby could help push for changes in the business world that would lead to parity in general, while addressing the distinct needs of female entrepreneurship when applicable.

This organization, while small at present, is picking up speed and hopes to build a strong, influential coalition of female entrepreneurs to help the nearly one third of Canada’s business community leadership.

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