Tech Crunch article by Penelope Trunk
I got a few emails today from women who sent me the article posted on Tech Crunch today by Penelope Trunk. Trunk is an entrepreneur who believes the main reason there are less women in the start-up world is because women want to have and raise children.
Her hypothesis has to do with her own experience. Ridiculous hours, stress central, biological clock ticking, etc. Certainly an interesting observation on her part. Personally, I have others.
I love the start-up world. I was involved in a 24/7 start-up when my kids were 6, 4 and 1. It was a bitch but it fed my brain. There is no doubt that juggling all aspects of my family life and job were a challenge but I seemed to make it work. At least I thought I did. Over time I did get off that ramp for a while but missed being in the game. I do believe that times have changed and that there is a slow reaction to the change which is why this particular topic seems to be very hot.
More women in their 20's and 30's are trying to figure out how to have it all. Some will and others won't because perhaps they don't want to. There is nothing wrong with wanting to stay home with the kids or not even having the drive to do a start-up. Many men don't have the drive to do a start-up. Regardless, women are different than men. We don't see women at the tech cocktail parties because they don't have time to go to these events. Women network differently. They are focused on their work, their friends, their family and the last thing is "the networking". They'd rather spend their time at work focused on the job at hand then extending that to the cocktail hour.
Start-ups are hard work and the hours are insane but I am hopeful that the next generation of start-ups will embrace the many smart women who are turned on by the start-up world and are entrepreneurs themselves. How can I have the family and do the start-up? You can. It isn't easy but it can be done. It is all relevant to how you manage your time and the partner you have ( if you have one ). What is difficult is getting off the ramp which takes about two seconds to do but it can take years to get back on because there never seems to be an easy entrance. Exiting is easy. Getting funders to look at women in their late 40's as new entrepreneurs isn't easy because most entrepreneurial men in their 40's generally have a few successes already under their belt. It is never easy being a woman.
My career has been all over the place. I raised 3 kids and granted I never started a company myself but I have worked in start-ups, invested in start-ups and been involved with growing small businesses into big ones. That takes a serious amount of time and energy because the job invades your head 24/7. I tryed hard to figure out how to balance it all while still filling my intellectual need. There is no doubt that everything becomes a negotiation for you and your time.
Entrepreneurs are definitely a breed onto itself but that shouldn't stop women working with them or doing their own thing. Its rewarding. I appreciate what Trunk has to say, it is her honest voice of how she had enough of the total juggle. I get it. Believe me. Maybe she will find herself in ten years back on the ramp trying to get funding for her next idea or perhaps not.
Bottom line is the more people talk about this challenge and the more people think about ways to work with the smartest women in the room, who happen to have 3 kids at home to raise, the more this community will figure out how to make it work. Making it work makes for better companies and certainly makes for strong role models for the next generation of women coming up the pike.