EDUCATION AND CAREERS Young girls can be less motivated to pursue new activities or ambitious careers. The work to encourage them to pursue business ownership, or leadership roles, cannot start early enough.
A recent study confirmed what so many of us fear: Little girls doubt that women can be brilliant. The study, published in the journal Science, shows girls as young as 6 years old can begin to believe men are inherently smarter and more talented than women.
I encounter many brilliant women business owners who are risk-averse and reticent to pursue the funding they need to start or grow their businesses.
This is unfortunate because business ownership can be a game-changer for not only women entrepreneurs but those around them. Across our country and around the globe, the introduction and expansion of women into entrepreneurism has produced positive results for the women as well as their families and the surrounding communities.
Women give back. When they start a company, or take a seat at the helm of an existing one, they contribute back to their families and their communities. They are continually looking for ways to hire and impact more individuals with what they have.
They also strive to pass along any on-the-job training they glean by mentoring other women so that the circle continues and expands to impact even more women and more communities.
Too often, we still are citing the first woman to accomplish or attain recognition in their field. We will truly make history by empowering the next generation of women to be the second and third and fourth until we finally reach the point where the number is irrelevant because female achievement is mainstream.
The work to encourage women and girls to pursue business ownership or leadership roles cannot start early enough. We need to be educated about the myriad of educational options that exist and then select the MBA or other educational program that matches our needs.
We can show girls that strengths lay within their differences. The unique approach they bring to problem-solving or leadership is welcome and needed in the classroom, in the boardroom and in elective office. Women are a good investment. We can demonstrate that by investing in them and investing in ourselves.
TERESA MEARES, NATIONAL BOARD CHAIR, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN BUSINESS OWNERS, firstname.lastname@example.org