From Boys Clubs To Woman Power

by Shonali Burke on February 5, 2010

Are we women in business letting men run circles around us?

In a recent Pew Research Center survey, 49% of those surveyed listed the “old-boy network” as a major factor causing the lack of women in top level business positions. Many respondents also said that women’s family responsibilities don’t leave time for running a major corporation.

I myself have heard the “old-boy network” argument time and again… and I’ve witnessed it on occasion.

So if this Pew Research Center survey is correct, could this be the reason so many women are starting their own businesses and turning to entrepreneurship as the answer? Does running your own company give you more time – or, at least, more flexibility – to be both a businesswoman and a caregiver?

And what can we, as women, do to overcome this “old-boy network”?

Let’s work it

Here’s what I think: let’s help each other out, and the Women Grow Business blog is a great example of just that. But all too often – and I say this from experience – many women, especially in corporate America, don’t seem eager to help out other women.

Instead of seeing other women as comrades, and instead of forming a “new-ladies network,” we see other women as competition, as if their success somehow threatens our own. And how wrong is that! Especially when the “boys” are putting out their hands to help each other ascend.

A challenge to WGB readers

So here’s my challenge to the WGB readers – and I’m guessing many of you don’t even need this challenge, but here it is anyway: Go help out another women with her business. Do it to gain a little good karma. Do it to try and create a new work environment for your sisters, daughters, and granddaughters. Do it just because.

And let us know: Do you agree with the study? What made you turn to “small business” or entrepreneurship? Have you found that entering the small biz world has resulted in fewer struggles with the “old boy network”? And, of course, did you take up our challenge?

And perhaps as – or even more – important, what resources do you know of out there to help women develop into successful small business owners? Some I know of – both local to the D.C. area and national – include:

So speak up, readers. Let us know what you’ve done to help other women succeed… and let us know about your favorite women in business resources.

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Guest blogger Robin Ferrier is communications manager for the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus and president of the Capital Communicators Group. She can be reached via LinkedIn.

Image: U.S. National Archives, Creative Commons

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