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Cover Story
As Shatter-Proof as Ever!
Women have broken a lot of Gender Barriers in Society, But The Glass ceiling is not Exactly in that List Yet
Issue Date - 17/03/2011
Third, policy makers – if they are truly committed to accelerating economic development and its positive ripple effects – need to get serious and creative about making it much easier for women to start and operate ventures in their economy. One of the most important lessons coming out of the microfinance revolution is the recognition of the powerfully leveraged role of women in driving economic progress at the grassroots level. Simply stated, they tend to be better risk takers as borrowers, more disciplined as entrepreneurs and better stewards of newfound wealth to advance their families’ well-being than we men have been.

Finally, the captains of industry (the vast majority of whom are men) need to wake up to the realization that trying to operate and grow their businesses without fully engaging the capabilities of women entrepreneurs – as suppliers, partners and even employees – is like trying to swim one-handed. Navigating successfully through the scale and complexity of technological change, political tumult and competitive pressures that characterise most markets today will demand a broader keyboard of human ingenuity and creativity. That means opening up opportunities for women to apply their talents.

Here’s a bold prediction. The first major country that figures out how to fully unleash the untapped talents of women entrepreneurs will bring a dominant competitive advantage into the global marketplace every bit as powerful as if it had discovered a massive new source of natural energy to fuel its economy. But unlike oil reserves, nuclear fusion or solar energy, this resource requires no new technology or massive long-term investment in uncertain R&D. We live everyday with this source of energy, we even love it as friends, spouses or children. All we really need to tap its inexhaustible supply is new perspectives, new business models and new policies that get out of its way and make it easier to contribute to the future we all share. Women entrepreneurs are that majestic source of new energy.

Coordinated By : Sanchit Verma
Glass Ceiling Effect: Decoding The Age old Paradox
Interactions with some of the most Successful Women from The Corporate World reveal that The Glass ceiling exists. But There Are Ways To Break Through It And Make It Big.

“Women entrepreneurs don’t operate under the assumption of scarcity. We help each other. All boats rise with the rising tide.”

– Michelle Madhok, CEO of SheFinds Media

Does the glass ceiling still exist? “Yes,” says Heidi Messer, former co-founder and President of LinkShare Corporation, which sold for $425M in 2005. “But only if you choose to live in the house that’s already built. When you’re an entrepreneur, you get to build your own house. Ceiling, floor, walls, everything. And think big. It takes just as much effort, if not more, to run the dry-cleaning shop on the corner as it does to run a multimillion-dollar technology business.” Messer is currently CEO of World Evolved, a technology syndication platform and Chairman of the Board of Cross Commerce Media, a leading provider of unified analytics.

Entrepreneurial ventures, particularly in the worlds of technology and e-commerce, may offer aspiring women CEOs some of the best chances for success. The barriers to entry are low, points out Rachel Sklar, founder of and founding editor of “The startup costs are minimal, and you’re not dependent on seed money from venture capitalists. You can open your computer and get started. You don’t even have to reveal your gender or whether or not you have children. Make something where there wasn’t something before. Go with your skills. What can you add to this world? Make something that will make people’s lives easier and more fun. And then do it.”

Sklar’s boasts research citations and observations regarding the involvement of women in high-profile events and positions. Sklar reports that institutional habits still contribute to the exclusion of women from events, meetings and networking activities, which in turn reduces visibility. She asks, “How can we get the visibility we need if we don’t even have a place at the table?” For instance, in US President Obama’s most recent dinner for prominent US entrepreneurs, only one of the professional invitees was a woman. “Visibility leads to access, which then becomes opportunity,” Sklar adds. “It all starts with visibility.”


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