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Blog: Why girls need an entrepreneurial mindset

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By Chris Woods

Whether you’re an entrepreneur or not, you can benefit from having an entrepreneurial mindset. This mindset includes things like being innovative and creative, seeing opportunities, coping with ambiguity, being willing to take risks, and to celebrate and learn from failure.

These entrepreneurial skills are critical for anyone wanting to stay relevant in today’s changing workplace. Many of the careers that we have today won’t exist in ten years, and the world is a far more unpredictable place than it ever has been. Having a portfolio of transferable skills is one of the best ways to stay relevant in such an environment.

Why focus on girls when everyone can benefit from being entrepreneurial?

While we say “girls can do anything” the tragedy is that many girls believe they can’t. Consider the following research findings:

  • A study published in Science in 2017 reported that girls as young as six believe men are inherently smarter and more talented than women and that being “brilliant” is a male quality.1
  • Another study found that American parents are two-and-a-half times more likely to Google “Is my son gifted?” than “Is my daughter gifted?” The same study found that parents Googled “Is my daughter overweight?” roughly twice as frequently as they Googled “Is my son overweight?”2
  • Another study published in Science in 2015 found that in fields where people thought raw, innate talent was required for success, academic departments had lower percentages of women.3

Cultural stereotypes not only create a lack of confidence in young girls, they shape girls’ interests in such a way as to eventually create stark differences in female participation in certain professions such as business, computer science, physics, engineering, mathematics, medicine and even philosophy.

Two of the most important risk factors that may explain why girls lose the belief that they can succeed in certain fields are a lack of self-confidence and a lack of female role-models.

Girls Mean Business is partnering with the University of Auckland and the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to explore opportunities to encourage the entrepreneurial mindset in girls through programmes for primary school and high school students. These programmes will encourage girls to step outside their comfort zone, challenging them and do things they might not have thought possible.

For more information about the Girls Mean Business primary and high school programmes, email me at christine@girlsmeanbusiness.net or visit www.girlsmeanbusiness.net. To find out more about what we are doing at the University of Auckland, email me at cr.woods@auckland.ac.nz.

Chris Woods is an Associate Professor in the University of Auckland Business School’s Department of Management and International Business.

1Bian L, Leslie SJ and Cimpian A. (2017) Gender stereotypes about intellectual ability emerge early and influence children’s interests. Science 355(6323):389-391.

2Stevens-Davidowitz S. (2014) Google, Tell Me. Is My Son a Genius? The New York Times 19 Jan: SR6

3Leslie SJ, Cimpian A, Meyer M and Freeland E. (2015) Expectations of brilliance underlie gender distributions across academic disciplines. Science 347(6219): 262-265.

 

Blog: Why girls need an entrepreneurial mindset
Blog: Why girls need an entrepreneurial mindset

social media

By Chris Woods

Whether you’re an entrepreneur or not, you can benefit from having an entrepreneurial mindset. This mindset includes things like being innovative and creative, seeing opportunities, coping with ambiguity, being willing to take risks, and to celebrate and learn from failure.

These entrepreneurial skills are critical for anyone wanting to stay relevant in today’s changing workplace. Many of the careers that we have today won’t exist in ten years, and the world is a far more unpredictable place than it ever has been. Having a portfolio of transferable skills is one of the best ways to stay relevant in such an environment.

Why focus on girls when everyone can benefit from being entrepreneurial?

While we say “girls can do anything” the tragedy is that many girls believe they can’t. Consider the following research findings:

  • A study published in Science in 2017 reported that girls as young as six believe men are inherently smarter and more talented than women and that being “brilliant” is a male quality.1
  • Another study found that American parents are two-and-a-half times more likely to Google “Is my son gifted?” than “Is my daughter gifted?” The same study found that parents Googled “Is my daughter overweight?” roughly twice as frequently as they Googled “Is my son overweight?”2
  • Another study published in Science in 2015 found that in fields where people thought raw, innate talent was required for success, academic departments had lower percentages of women.3

Cultural stereotypes not only create a lack of confidence in young girls, they shape girls’ interests in such a way as to eventually create stark differences in female participation in certain professions such as business, computer science, physics, engineering, mathematics, medicine and even philosophy.

Two of the most important risk factors that may explain why girls lose the belief that they can succeed in certain fields are a lack of self-confidence and a lack of female role-models.

Girls Mean Business is partnering with the University of Auckland and the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to explore opportunities to encourage the entrepreneurial mindset in girls through programmes for primary school and high school students. These programmes will encourage girls to step outside their comfort zone, challenging them and do things they might not have thought possible.

For more information about the Girls Mean Business primary and high school programmes, email me at christine@girlsmeanbusiness.net or visit www.girlsmeanbusiness.net. To find out more about what we are doing at the University of Auckland, email me at cr.woods@auckland.ac.nz.

Chris Woods is an Associate Professor in the University of Auckland Business School’s Department of Management and International Business.

1Bian L, Leslie SJ and Cimpian A. (2017) Gender stereotypes about intellectual ability emerge early and influence children’s interests. Science 355(6323):389-391.

2Stevens-Davidowitz S. (2014) Google, Tell Me. Is My Son a Genius? The New York Times 19 Jan: SR6

3Leslie SJ, Cimpian A, Meyer M and Freeland E. (2015) Expectations of brilliance underlie gender distributions across academic disciplines. Science 347(6219): 262-265.

 


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