Joanne Lenweaver, our director of the Women Inspiring the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (WISE) Center, gave me a great article by Nan Langowitz, Associate Professor of Management and the Director and Cofounder, Center for Women's Leadership at Babson College. The article is Myths and Realities of Women Entrepreneurs, and here are the opening two paragraphs:
Quick, think of an entrepreneur! Did you think of Michael Dell or Sam Walton or Ben and Jerry? But what about Anita Roddick (The Body Shop) or Sandy Lerner (Cisco) or Kay Koplovitz (USA Networks)? In three separate studies of women entrepreneurs I’ve conducted over the past few years, we’ve learned a good deal more than what the business press imparts. In a research study completed last year, we studied the coverage of women entrepreneurs in the business press. The most immediate finding was that coverage is extremely low. Indeed, other scholars have coined the phrase "the invisible entrepreneurs" to describe media coverage of women business founders and their companies.
The number of women entrepreneurs is increasing at an extraordinary rate, growing at four times the national pace of business formation between 1997 and 2002. Women owned firms now account for nearly 40 percent of U.S. businesses. But just what do we know about women entrepreneurs, and where do we learn it from? For most business people, what they know about women entrepreneurs tends to be what they learned in business school or what they read in the business press
Right after talking about the article with Joanne, I went through my office to find all of the popular business press publications I could find…and guess what, out of 22 publications, only four had a woman on the cover. As I read through Professor Langowitz’s article, I thought about all the fantastic women entrepreneurs that I know…they are in a variety of fields from time share to air conditioning and heating from the head of an ad agency to the head of a modeling agency and everything in between. I know women who run restaurateurs, manufacturing businesses, technology companies, a company that deals with helping you scrapbook your trip and an awesome woman who runs a company helping plastic surgeons do a better job of marketing their services. If I could find these entrepreneurs, I wonder why the popular press can’t.