Encourage male peers and colleagues to sponsor women for opportunities, from job promotions to nominations to boards. By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0)
Buck the trend and go big. 88% of women-owned firms in the U.S. are sole-proprietorships, according to an female entrepreneurship report by public radio reporter Ashley Milne-Tyte. She talks with prominent women working to increase women's participation in high-growth entrepreneurship.
Where today's highly educated women fall flat on opportunities to spur new job creation is explained by Kauffman vice president Lesa Mitchell, who explains a major problem for women's advancement in entrepreneurship - the "network problem":
"A significant number of our cancer researchers in the United States are women. Those women are not taking the science they are finding in their lab and commercializing it. We have data to show that they are not applying for patents, and they are not taking their science to market. An analysis of faculty at MIT looked at all science and engineering faculty - both men and women - and found a significant number of the male faculty either sit on scientific advisory boards of companies or they sit on boards of for-profit companies. Almost ZERO percent of the women sit on anything for-profit, therefore they don't have a network into the for-profit marketplace of individuals... they don't have the network to lead them ot another entrepreneur, they don't even have a network to asking them to be on these for-profit boards."
Aside from encouraging women to apply for patents, commercialize their technology and seek funding to take their ventures high-growth, we can actively encourage our male peers and colleagues to sponsor women.
Facebook Director of Engineering Jocelyn Goldfein said recently at a Girl Geek Dinner, "Many opportunities and openings and positions happen in these informal ways of senior people kicking names around... When we see opportunities to help or you see projects go by, remember the women. Sponsor women."
Encourage peers and colleagues to sponsor women for opportunities, from job promotions to board seats. This will slowly start to improve the "network effect" for women to succeed in male-dominated industries.
Photo credit: Nathan Siemers on Flickr. Angie Chang co-founded Women 2.0 in 2006. She currently serves as Editor-In-Chief of Women 2.0 and is working to mainstream women in high-growth, high-tech entrepreneurship. Previously, Angie held roles in product management and web UI design. In 2008, Angie launched Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners, asking that guys come as the "+1" for once. Angie holds a B.A. in English and Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. Follow her on Twitter at @thisgirlangie.