This year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) theme of A Challenged World couldn’t be more fitting for our current times. In the age of information and access to social media, several movements have awakened change in society including the Black Lives Matter Movement and #MeToo. However, we still have a way to go. Women are no longer complacent with being the notion of “good for a girl” but we want to be seen as equals. This year’s IWD tagline states this so eloquently: “A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change.”
So let’s all choose to challenge ourselves.
This poses the question: how will you help forge a gender-equal world? The answer for me is easy: the ‘C-Suite is Calling’ Initiative.
He legitimately laughed at his nephew for referring to himself as a CEO of his own company. I knew if he could feel this way about his own nephew he was not alone in his thinking. At first, I could not comprehend why this title and his feelings against it were so strong so I took to Google. After pages of research, I could understand the argument more in the sense of history. Historically a CEO ran major companies but with technology and a new narrative being created, I saw room for updating the definition. In addition, it alerted me to some challenging statistics.
Yes – by definition his nephew may not fit the traditional idea of a CEO, he was not in a suit, is under 35, and had around 15 employees – typically the prototype of a CEO is the overseer of a publicly-traded company with more than 50 employees, typically white, male and over 55 years of age.
I asked a couple of my entrepreneurial friends how they chose their titles – some are CEOs and others chose Owners. I’ll never forget Meredith Dean’s response, “We are whatever we want to be. We are CEOs of our business, our brands. I mean by definition we aren’t CEOs but look who created that narrative.”
And she was right – women make up about 48% of the workforce yet when it came to leadership roles women only account for 25% of those roles, with just 10% being CEOs and only 2% are women of color. How does this add up? Women are fierce and a force to be reckoned with and it’s time to celebrate women’s achievements.
There were nearly 13 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. as of 2019. (American Express)
Women-owned businesses generated $1.9 trillion in revenue for the U.S. economy in 2019. (American Express)
Women of color founders employ 2,389,500 people, which makes up 25% of the total employment of women-owned businesses. (American Express)
Did you know women-owned businesses receive just 7% of venture funds for their startups? Women have a 69.5% success rate of crowdfunding for their businesses while men have a 61.4% success rate. Over the past two decades, the number of women entrepreneurs has increased by 114%. (Inc)
More than 150 women joined the movement and received daily profiles to review at their leisure highlighting C-Suite women and female business owners/leaders from across the country.
The C-Suite offers representation and motivation with access to a private collective group via LinkedIn. Other resources include our “C-Suite Directory”– a compilation of personal and professional development resources designed to support and empower women pursuing the C-Suite and women entrepreneurs, and this year spearheads our E4 Fund to help and empower other female-owned businesses.
Our Boss Camp kicks off March 8 and concludes March 26 with a pitching competition for participants to compete for funding for continuing education or business development. Signing up for the Boss Camp is free and easy – and will be the best gift for yourself on your journey of celebrating yourself, your achievements, and uplifting others.
Celebrate women’s achievements. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.