This past year wasn’t just good for women in business, it was absolutely spectacular! We’ll take a look at five ways women rocked the boat, broke down barriers, and really put themselves on the map in 2013.
(Photo Credit: Nigel Howe/Flickr)
1. Women dominate in tech. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, women comprise 60 percent of the 39,000 new “computer systems design and related services” jobs in 2013, compared to a meager 34 percent just a year prior. Part of the reason why too few women are in tech careers is because of how the tech industry is perceived, as well as the lack of exposure early on in their education, specifically high school. However, although men are still earning more than women are in all industries across the board and dominate most of the tech industry, women aren’t going out without a fight. Many efforts are being made by Fortune 500 companies, non-profits, educational institutes, and leading ladies in business to close the gender gap in tech once and for all.
2. Women are “leaning in” to their careers. Thanks to Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, working women across the globe now have the courage and backing to “sit at the table” with the rest of their male counterparts and take charge of their careers and lives, without impending guilt or an inferiority complex. The buck doesn’t stop when women leave the workplace, either. Sandberg also put her foot down and asked men to help their career-driven wives out in the home so that they, too, can pursue promising careers without having to juggle work and a household on their own.
3. Leading socially responsible companies. Women constitute 53 percent of all health care and social assistance firms in the United States, compared to 29 percent share overall, according to Amex Open’s The State of Women-Owned Business, 2013 report. Even in the UK, “More than 90 percent of companies that focus on tackling social problems have at least one woman on their leadership team, as opposed to almost half of small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have all-male directors,” as reported on The Independent. Social enterprises attract so many women because these types of ventures allow female entrepreneurs to conduct business the way that they choose to, combat gender issues, and help other women reach their potential in the business world.
4. Growth in number of women-owned firms exceeded national average. According to the Amex Open’s report, between 1997 and 2013, women-owned business have grown at a rate of 1.5 times the national average. The report also points out that, “Over the past six years, since the depth of the U.S. recession, the only businesses that have provided a net increase in employment are large, publicly traded corporations … and privately held majority women-owned firms.”
5. Mary Barra becomes CEO of General Motors. What’s so special about this? Barra will become the first female CEO to head a major car manufacturer such as GM – ever – and, considering that only 4.2 percent of Fortune 500 companies have women CEOs in 2013, that’s a huge accomplishment for Barra and all women in business. We just hope the media doesn’t pick Barra apart like they did Marissa Mayer when she became Yahoo!’s CEO.
Raise your glasses, female entrepreneurs and working women. It’s time to pay tribute to the many ceilings you’ve managed to break through and surpass, all the “leaning in” that you’ve done, all the “tables you’ve sat at,” and the many, many things you’ve all accomplished this year. Here’s to closing 2013 out with a bang, and starting the New Year out with bigger goals, wilder aspirations, and outrageous tenacity to go out there and make 2014 the best year yet for women in business!
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