It always surprises me when I encounter gender bias in my professional life because growing up, I wasn't given that world view, nor were my sisters. My Dad always felt all three of us girls could do, and would do, anything boys do.
Not that I liked it at the time, but I do feel it's shaped me into the strong person I am today and why I'm able to overcome setbacks, financial hardship, injuries, and other issues that might have stopped someone less driven than myself a long time ago.
It helps to surround myself with other strong women, read encouraging, inspiring books of women achievers, and participate in women-focused groups, conferences and other female-supportive endeavors. And have good doctors, therapists, etc.:)
We were raised working on my Dad's rentals - we painted, scraped, cleaned, gardened and were taught the value of doing a lot of the work yourself to increase profits, maintain control and develop stronger relationships with tenants.
We had to earn half our way into any extracurricular activity and were introduced to playing soccer at very young ages. We're all very competitive as a result and also extremely independent too. We were often pushed into activities that girls normally didn't have to learn on their own, but my Dad, being the man's man he is, thought nothing of it and encouraged us to try and do it.
Which we did.
And we continue to do to this day.
That's why when I hear men say, oh there weren't enough quality female teams applying to select more than one out of a group of 20, I say, really? REALLY?!
Every. single. time. I have ever pitched my travel company to anyone who has a female on their judging panel, they get the concept, they welcome us with open arms and they see us succeeding.
EVERY. SINGLE. TIME!
Every. single. time. I pitch my travel company for women to anyone without a woman involved in any capacity, we get turned down.
EVERY. SINGLE. TIME!
Now that makes it difficult when almost all the VC firms, accelerators, incubators etc have almost all men making decisions. Men do not understand how women buy, shop or influence buying decisions by virtue of their gender bias.
It is what it is, but I'm trying to help change it along with other women I admire like Geena Davis and her efforts fighting gender bias in media with her Geena Davis Institute called See Jane.
"Michael Silverstein is a senior partner and managing director at The Boston Consulting Group. He was one of the founders of the firm's global consumer practice and is known for his expertise in consumer behavior,retail, and marketing, particularly as it relates to the female economy.
He is the author of Rocket: Eight Lessons to Secure Infinite Growth, Trading Up: The New American Luxury,Treasure Hunt: Inside the Mind of the New Consumer, Women Want More: How to Capture Your Share of the World's Largest Fastest-Growing Market and The Ten Trillion Dollar Prize: Captivating the Newly Affluent in China and India.
He is a regular contributor to Bloomberg Television."
When I approached him about sharing his findings with me about women and consumer spending he was so generous, I invited him to join my advisory board which he gladly did. Even writing this recommendation too in support of our endeavors for women in travel:
"Joy has identified an unsatisfied market niche. Women make a lot of purchase decisions on travel and have no source that helps them really identify their best option. Think of this idea as 'Angie's List' for travel. Joy has intent to be every bit as useful and commercial. Multiple revenue sources abound – fee for referral, subscription, preferred access, gift with purchase.
A very exciting idea needing next round of financing to prove or disprove. Women will love it when it is up and available."
So, think about it gentlemen. Who spends the most money in your household or family? Women. Who decides what to buy and plans your trips if you're married or in a relationship? Women.
Why then would you not value our contribution to the economy or think there's not a market for what female founders are creating just because you're not in that field or industry?
I just don't get it.
And that's why, my friends, I'm seriously considering starting a magazine that will highlight female achievements, issues and contributions to society that won't be fashion, celebrity driven like half the mags of the world for women are creating more and more vapid women who are only concerned about their appearance and finding a man, or abortion.
Glamour Magazine Names Planned Parenthood Abortionist Woman of the Year - Really? Killing babies live is a career to aspire to?
Nor so policy, political focused like MS in its one-sided approach to what women want and need in society. Not every female is a liberal MS Editors.:)
Nor something that is only age-focused, although balanced, like More magazine.
Just a magazine that encompasses all of women, in all races, all fields, all stages of their lives and champions those who are creating great companies that rarely are recognized by mainstream media, or if they are, it's about negative publicity which is rarely focused on when it's male.
Like Elizabeth Holmes who "founded Theranos in 2003 to make cheaper, easier-to-use blood tests. With a virtually painless prick of the finger and a few drops of blood, her labs can quickly run a multitude of tests at a fraction of the price of commercial labs." (Courtesy Forbes.)
There's so many more, but I have to run. I'm still just in the thinking stages, but feel very passionate about providing a magazine for my nieces and other young women who are being fed such garbage by traditional "female" magazines, it's a wonder any women get beyond their appearance or vagina these days.
We are worth more than our boobs, our legs, our hair and our vaginas contrary to popular belief men.
And Ladies, if you want to be empowered, then I would suggest attending Nicole Richie's women's conference this Sunday called Pearl xChange.
Lots of great empowering speakers, some celebrity cache, and the opportunity to connect with other women and develop relationships to further your life as a whole. Take it for what it is, but at least it's a step in the right direction and looks like a lot of fun.:)