Lately I have attended quite a few startup, business and entrepreneurial events in the Barcelona area. And I am learning to avoid the ones that have the word “women” in their headline. I am not saying it proudly. Really, I do not.
However, all the events that carry the word “women” in their title, for example “Women in Business” or “Women and Entrepreneurship”, tend to be mostly about women and not about business and entrepreneurship. During a two-hour presentation you do not hear anything informative, interesting or challenging. There are no references to business growth, to metrics used, no hints how to raise capital or manage human resources. You do not get an insight into the industry they are working in or in how they reach out to their customers. All you get to hear is how those women overcame the guilty feeling of leaving their kids at home or how they had to prove themselves in front of their family and friends for starting a business. It looks more like a celebration of the fact that they are not staying at home with their kids and actually doing something, independently on how good or relevant their work is. I tried to imagine a man CEO doing a presentation like that. And I could not. Really, can you see any man on the stage starting a business presentation talking about his childhood years and then going on how he got married and how his married life was affected by the fact that he also run a business. And how he felt about it.
Until this changes. Until this changes drastically, women will not be in businesses on the same level as men are. I would like to go to presentations where women and men talk about their yardstick as the founders, about how they created their company culture, what metric they focus on the most. I would like to see numbers. Yes, numbers, not dry and boring numbers, as women sometimes call them, but exciting numbers; Because while business is not just about numbers, but without them it would never survive and grow. I want to see numbers that would let me understand the growth of the company in a certain timespan and how different product introductions or marketing tactics affected this growth. Through those numbers and the founder’s vision I would like to be able to picture the future of that industry. This would make an amazing presentation!
At last, I would be grateful if on business meetings and related events people would stop asking me how I manage to take care of our two small kids and run a business. If I would be a man, you would never ask me this question, right? My husband never faces this one. Neither should I. I’d rather talk about business. And I promise it will be exciting, challenging and relevant.
Barcelona, February 2nd 2013