May 18, 2024

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Women’s Entrepreneurship Day: why is this day necessary?

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This November 19 is the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, with the aim of increasing the visibility of women by focusing on the obstacles and difficulties that women entrepreneurs may encounter in today’s ecosystem.

Origin of Women Entrepreneurs’ Day

This day arose as an initiative of Wendy Diamond, entrepreneur and founder of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Organization (WEDO), who achieved the recognition of this day in 2014, which is already celebrated in more than a hundred countries around the world.

As explained on WEDO’s own website, the movement “was founded with the mission to raise awareness of girls living in poverty around the world and empower women across the globe. By celebrating, supporting and encouraging women entrepreneurs around the world, we are creating a more equitable world for women through the power of entrepreneurship.”

Marie Curie, Madam C. J. Walker, Coco Chanel or Whitney Wolfe Herd, emblematic women entrepreneurs.

We could have chosen many others, but our tribute to women entrepreneurs ranges from some who broke down barriers in difficult historical moments born in the 19th century to others who in the 21st century have had to continue breaking the glass ceiling.

Marie Curie

Marie Curie (1867-1934), whose birth name was Maria Sklodowska, remains, to this day and almost a century after her death, the great woman of science, an enterprising scientist who, among many other things, left radiotherapy as one of the most outstanding elements of her legacy.

Although the term pioneer may have been used too lightly on certain occasions, this is certainly not the case with this Polish-born scientist who settled in France, overcoming misogynistic and xenophobic stereotypes to become a scientific icon.

She reached historic milestones such as being the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, as well as being the first person to be awarded this prize twice (in Physics in 1903 and in Chemistry in 1911). In fact, she remains the only woman to have achieved this milestone, although the list is not particularly long.

Curie has gone down in posterity as a scientist with her own name in a career plagued by broken barriers in terms of equality, such as the fact that she became the first woman professor in France. She even posthumously became the first woman to be buried in the Pantheon in Paris, where her remains were transferred in 1995.

Madam C.J. Walker

Sarah Breedlove, better known as Madam C.J. Walker (1867-1919), daughter and even sister of slaves, was the first of her siblings to be born free.

Like many other women of her time, she suffered from hair loss due to poor diet or poor hygiene habits, which led her to come up with the idea (at the age of 14) of a line of cosmetics and products specifically for African-American women.

The fact that she started her business with 2 dollars and ended up becoming the first African-American woman millionaire in history is an example of how it is not always necessary to have a large capital but an idea.

Coco Chanel

Gabrielle Chanel (1883-1971) changed the fashion world by creating a line of simple and comfortable clothes that broke with everything that had gone before.

Born and raised in an orphanage, in 1910 she opened her first store in a small street in Paris, although eight years later she opened her own fashion house in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods of the French capital.

In the 20s she diversified the business by entering the world of perfumes to the point that Chanel Nº5 is considered the best-selling fragrance in history.

Considered a visionary in the world of fashion, her designs forever changed women’s attire, although it is true that suspicions of collaboration with the Nazis during the French occupation tarnished her biography.

Whitney Wolfe Herd

Whitney Wolfe Herd (1989) was born a century after the rest of the protagonists of this article, but she has not stopped having female conquests to achieve in order to continue breaking the glass ceiling.

In fact, in 2021 she became the youngest CEO to launch a company on the stock exchange in her native USA, a year in which she also became the youngest billionaire (not heiress) in the world, a not insignificant fact since barely 5% of these great fortunes are women.

This Tinder co-founder and current CEO of Bumble is also an example of how to overcome adversity since she left the first company abruptly after a sexual harassment lawsuit.

This situation led her to found Bumble with the feature that once the match is made, only the woman can start the conversation, which is why she herself considers it the first feminist dating app.

Female entrepreneurship in numbers

According to data from the Entrepreneurship Map (prepared by South Summit), the gender gap remains at similar figures. Specifically, in Spain four out of every five entrepreneurs are men, four times more than women: one out of every five.

In other geographies, the numbers are similar: in Europe almost identical (specifically 81% male entrepreneurs) and in North America the figure is slightly lower, at 74%.

In terms of investment data in Europe, and according to IDC European Women in VC data, startups founded by women did not even raise 2% of the investment: only 1.8%. The percentage rises to 9.3% if we talk about teams with mixed founders, so the remaining 89% corresponds to startups with founding teams formed by men.

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