It came to our attention this week that, despite the fact that the number of female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies has doubled in the last decade, women still only represent 3.6% of the total leadership roles in 2012. Some people attribute this to the lack of female role models we have to look to in business. Ernst & Young’s Canadian branch is attempting to counteract the problem through leadership training to get more women on top, but what can we at WOMAN.com.au do to fix this problem? Lets start by reading up on some of this week’s women’s business news to keep our own business aspirations growing.
1. Laughing their way to success
The year started with a bang with the incredible success of the Adelaide Fringe Festival, followed by Perth’s Fringe World and then the famous Melbourne Comedy Festival. So what do all these events have in common? Women from all across Australia use them to kick-start their careers in comedy. With an increasing amount of female comedians hitting the stage it’s time we let the world know that stand-up isn’t a boys club anymore. With the curtains going down on the final acts of the Melbourne Comedy Festival and Sydney Comedy Festival getting underway, lets turn our eyes to some of the world’s funniest women.
2. It’s the ladies time to shine in technology
The web has been rocked over the past 12 months with discussions over women’s representation in gaming, development and technology. Current estimations indicate that women now make up 50% of the total gaming community, and yet onscreen representation is almost non-existent. As for women in gaming development, they currently make up about 10% of the workforce. The organisers of last month’s Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco took the opportunity to invite speakers to discuss the how and why of women’s lack of involvement in the industry, in an attempt to break down the barriers. Check out the link to access some of the talks that took place at the conference and then read up on how a Sydney-sider took revenge on a sexist gamer who questioned her gaming knowledge.
3. Women in writing
A number of literary prizes have been awarded over the past few weeks, but the one that WOMAN.com.au has been waiting for was Australia’s own Stella Prize. The prestigious literary prize is awarded each year to a book authored by an Australian woman, and this year’s winning book was Mateship With Birds, by Carrie Tiffany. If you’re yet to pick it up, hop to it so you know what all the fuss is about. While you’re at it, why not check out the other amazing titles that made it to the Stella Long List and join the Australian Women Writers Challenge?
4. The World’s Most Influential Women
This year 35 women made it onto TIME magazine’s annual list of the world’s 100 Most Influential People. Of those 35 women, Malala Yousafzai, the activist who was shot by members of the Taliban for attending school, made history as one of the youngest people ever to make the prestigious list. However, her demand that women and girl’s have equal access to education in Pakistan, and the injuries she endured in response to her protests, are a brutal reminder to us that not everyone supports women’s rights. Catherine Mayer’s article about Yousafzai considers how the lack of female representatives on TIME’s annual list reflects that the fear of female progress is not exclusive to the Taliban and, in fact, may be what’s holding us back. (Photo by Mark Seliger for TIME)
5. Businesses help women’s businesses
If the statistics on women’s under representation in business and technology are enough to get you down, do not despair! All across the world organisations are working towards helping women turn their ideas into businesses. Peruse the list of support networks here and make sure you look through each link to see the great work that is being done.
6. Going global against sexism
To celebrate the power one woman can have on a global scale, it seemed best to start this week’s news with the work being done at The Everyday Sexism Project. Initiated in 2012 by Laura Bates, the Project creates a space where women can submit stories about the harassment and derogatory treatment they are faced with on a daily basis. Since its launch, over 25,000 women from Pakistan to Portugal and everyplace in between have contributed their stories. When not sifting through tales of women’s daily struggles, Bates is contributing to the Independent, the Huffington Post, Grazia and numerous other reputable publications. With a documentary about the Project on its way we should all read more about it and get involved!
7. Nuts about Pnuts
Melissa Beese has proven that a mother’s innovative thinking can lead to a successful business. After a difficult pregnancy, leading to the premature birth of her first child, Beese recognised the importance of toys in her child’s physical and cognitive development. Wanting to share her newfound knowledge on how toys can assist in a child’s growth, she created her company Little Pnuts. A quarterly subscripting gets you a box of ecologically made, organic and sustainable toys that suit your child’s developmental needs. To find out more about Beese, her amazing story and the incredible success of Little Pnuts check out the link.
8. A fresh idea from a not-so-fresh experience
Ever swallowed unsafe tap water while brushing your teeth in a foreign country? Most of us will spend the rest of the night clutching our stomachs while cursing our own foolishness, but if you’re Kavita Shukla you’re more likely to use the experience to innovate a new business plan. When Shukla’s grandmother fed her an herbal remedy to treat the side effects of drinking Indian tap water, Shukla’s entrepreneurial mind began concocting ways to study, perfect and then use the mix to inhibit bacterial growth in food. The results? Fresh Paper! This smart little invention is piece of paper you slide into your veggie storage space to keep your food fresher for longer. Read more about Shukla’s inspiration and business tips here.
9. Fashion fit for a fiesta
Is it possible to be ethical and fashionable? According to Sydney based entrepreneur Athena Maroulis, the answer is a loud and proud ‘YES’! After months of partying her way around South America, Maroulis found herself looking for a break and some much needed inspiration for her next adventure. A conversation in a hostel bar lead her to Guatemala where, inspired by the local people and their history, Maroulis founded her brand Athinaeum. The brand’s look is as courageous the sagas that lead to its creation so read-up, and shop away.
10. Bearded ambition
There is nothing more satisfying than curling up with a cuppa and a magazine in front of the heater while the weather rages outside. That is of course if you can find a mag with good content, not too many adverts and models that won’t make you cry tears of shame into your tea. To avoid anymore salty, tear-filled tea, Kitty Drake and Sadhbh O’Sullivan from Cambridge University took magazine matters into their own hands by creating Ladybeard. The magazine provides readers with thought provoking feminist articles on current affairs and the media’s role in our lives. Having just circulated their first issue across campuses in the UK, the Ladybeard team are using Kickstart to raise funds so they can meet growing demand for their next few issues. If you’re curious about how the mag got off the ground, and if we will have the honour of receiving the publication in Australia, read more about it here.