This may feel like a loaded question – Woman-Owned Business: Does It Really Matter? And answered in a blog written by a businesswoman, you may feel that you already know my answer. However, I assure you, that true to Güd Marketing’s values and my own principles, I approached the challenge to answer this question the way we approach all questions – with data.
First, to state the obvious, related to – although not to directly answer to our question – gender inequality is a current issue. Harvard Business Review recently published, “A Study Used Sensors to Show That Men and Women Are Treated Differently at Work” by Stephen Turban, Laura Freeman and Ben Waber. In summary, this study proved that:
Women are underrepresented in the C-suite, receive lower salaries and are less likely to receive a critical first promotion to manager than men. Numerous causes have been suggested, but one argument that persists points to differences in men's and women’s behavior. In this study, behavior was proved not to be the point of difference. Ultimately, gender inequality is due to bias, not differences in behavior.
Secondary research more directly related to our specific question about relevance and meaning of the specific “woman-owned business” designation returned highly disappointing results. The leading Google results for “Why does woman-owned business matter?” included themes such as tax incentives, new business set-asides, and, worst of all, “proof your company cares about diversity.”
Segue to my personal anecdote.
When I was in the fifth grade, I had to write a paper about what I wanted to be when I grew up. My mind went instantly to my mom telling me “you can do anything you set your mind to.” She was always pushing us to “have a better life than her” – whatever that meant because, as a stay-at-home mom of six, I thought my mom was pretty awesome.
I wrote with an easily drummed-up fervor of my plan and intent to become the first woman president of the United States. My only hesitancy in writing this one-page thesis at age 10 in 1991 was that surely another woman would beat me to it… (you fill in the blank).
I was proud of my essay. When asked to share it with my neighbor, I read with confidence that I would someday achieve this goal. My “neighbor” – let’s just call him “Jerry” for the sake of anonymity (although you can bet I remember every detail about this young man)– all but punched me in the gut upon hearing my future plans. As certain as I was that I could become president, he was just as certain that it was absolutely hilariously impossible that a girl could ever achieve this goal – “what a stupid dream.”
Never before had I been in trouble in class. I was a good student with great remarks from all teachers across the board about my helpfulness and positive attitude. That day, my reputation changed. I was sent to the hall for screaming and crying in class, for not being able to control my emotions. I was called dramatic and made to be embarrassed for “caring so much about what other people think.” I didn’t know it then, but a seed was planted deep within me. My behavior, my reaction, my feelings – and my plans – were wrong.
It took me many years to realize “Jerry” wasn’t “wrong” either, and any animosity directed at him specifically was wasted. He had no point of reference, no role models or examples, to disprove his standpoint.
So the final answer to our question is, yes, every little bit – WOB (woman-owned business), every personal story, every positive affirmation – matters. WOB is more than a status, a logo, a symbol – it is one more effort in the world that helps shape the way not only other women see themselves as they grow up and make choices but also how the world sees women and their limitlessness. WOB status helps motivate women to go places that we may never go otherwise.
Kamala Harris, the first woman elected to the White House and highest-ranking woman in the nation’s 244-year existence, sums it up well: “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last, because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”
Güd Marketing’s recent victory, recognition as “Business of the Year,” is further evidence that women belong in creating and leading businesses.
My own personal victory, is this interruption (pictured below), experienced literally as I write this blog. My 9-old, Stella, a potential future president of the United States (although hopefully not the first), bursting through the door to tell me about this amazing woman she’s learning about.
Stella, future leader, learning about RBG.
Market Development Director & Media Strategist
Never resist a generous impulse, lover of warm hugs, earthy