Women haven’t typically been business ‘tycoons’. For a whole lot of reasons, many of which had nothing to do with women. But I see something changing.
There is a new way of working that I don’t recognize from my early career days; women collaborating and supporting each other to greater success, some of it on a scale previously only seen by men.
And there was the amazing Women’s March this past weekend. Around the world, millions of women came together in unprecedented numbers to march for issues that will improve women’s lives.
Can the world please take note?
It’s time for women to take their place at the table, but not by following the rules laid down by men. No, it’s time for women to set their own places at the table. Women haven’t been permitted to be successful business tycoons by following ‘the rules’. As Sheryl Sandberg noted in her book, Lean In, “If a woman pushes to get the job done, if she’s highly competent, if she focuses on results rather than on pleasing others, she’s acting like a man. And if she acts like a man, people dislike her.”
So let’s write our own rules.
Rules that don’t just allow women to be successful at work and at home, but actively foster that success. Rules that encourage women to think bigger and build bigger. Rules that allow for successful business women to simultaneously care for family and run their businesses. Rules that allow women to still be women, be successful, and be supportive.
Women need other women. Allison O'Kelly agrees with me that we also need:
Society to hold men and women to the same standard.
Equal access to finance.
Encouragement to fail.
Societal support systems to make it happen.
We are every bit as capable of being business tycoons as our man friends. And we’ve been stymied for far too long.
It’s time to believe.
Join me in the wave that is sweeping the country; there are many, many organizations focused on women’s success as entrepreneurs: Femworking, Her Corner, Women’s Business Garden, and Hera Hub are just a few that I’ve encountered as I’ve begun to build my business working with women. Former Wall Street executive Sallie Krawcheck believes now is the time for women to become entrepreneurs. Doors are opening, finance is being made available by women who want to invest in women, and the business world is starting to recognize that women entrepreneurs may just be more successful.
If we can all make our voices heard by being successful beyond society’s expectations maybe, just maybe, those societal support systems will be built to make it easier for the next generation of women. Let’s not allow the tremendous momentum of the weekend dissipate into fringe movements ignored by those with power. We need to keep doing what we’ve been doing, with increased focus and determination, and make our voices heard. And we need to believe. That may just be the most difficult part.