Two Inspiring TED Talks about Women, Business and Entrepreneurship

by Nadia Jones

The statistics are staggering really—of the 190 heads of state only nine are women, of all the people in parliament in the world only 13 percent are women, and of all the top positions in the corporate world only 16 percent are women (from Sheryl Sandberg's talk discussed below). Women are no doubt essential assets to the business world today. They make contributions that are important and significant. But the fact remains, they are underrepresented and under appreciated. 

The gender gap in the global economic workplace is undeniable. These two TED talks given by extremely intelligent and inspiring women, explore the topic of women in business. Sheryl Sandberg and Gale Tzemach Lemmon deliver essential messages concerning economy, gender, business, entrepreneurship, and society. Take a look.

Having previously worked for Google, serving as an economist for the World Bank, sitting as Chief of Staff at the US Treasury Department, and currently working as the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg knows a thing or two about business. In her 2010 TED talk for the TED Women event, Sandberg discusses the issue of why the world today has so few women leaders. Sandberg points out three messages we need to send the women of today's working world in order to change male centric business statistics.

1. First, she explains that we need to get women to "sit at the table". Women systematically underestimate their own abilities and, therefore, place themselves at a disadvantage in the workplace. It is shown that where success and likability are positively correlated for men in the workplace, they are negatively correlated for women.

2. Next, Sandberg wishes to send the message "make your partner a real partner". Focusing more attention of working women at home, Sandberg illuminates that on average working women do twice as much house work and three times as much childcare as their working male partners. This inequality in the home makes it even more difficult for women to succeed and prosper in the business world. Men and women need to do equal parts in the home.

3. Finally, Sandberg urges women "don't leave before you leave". She explains that women are dropping out of the business world faster than men are because of their commitments to having a family and children. Women must continue to achieve and pursue growth in their jobs even after they decide to start a family, so that the job they return to after maternity leave is worth it.

Sandberg imparts some very stirring and inspiring points on the state of women in business today and where we need to go in the future. 

In her 2011 TED talk, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon discusses many of the same issues that Sheryl Sandberg touches on above. Lemmon expresses her interest in entrepreneurship and the global economy while turning the discussion to women and the global conception of businesswomen throughout the world today. Lemmon took on the task of writing about women entrepreneurs during and after conflict. 

Throughout her research and writing she found that it was women in the conflicted worlds that were making waves on the business fronts. Lemmon addresses the issue of gender perception in the economic and business world. She states that when we hear the term microfinance, we think women and when we hear the term entrepreneur, we think men. Worldwide women run nearly 50 percent of small businesses, but only 16 percent of the world's top leaders in business are female. This is a problem not only for gender equality, but also for our global economy.

Lemmon states that "smaller gender gaps are directly correlated with increased economic competitiveness" and explains that not a single country in the entire world has eliminated its economic participation gap. This means that there is an incredible opportunity for women to grow within the global economy today. 

Encouraging and supporting women entrepreneurs is not about doing good—it is about global grown and employment and about how we invest and how we view women in our global society. Lemmon makes the point that women are not the exception in the business world and they are not to be dismissed. She charges that now is the time to aim higher when it comes to women. Women in business can make a different for the global economy that desperately needs their contribution. 

About the Author: Nadia Jones blogs at accreditedonline colleges about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 @


head_exposed said...

Women are the perfect embodiment of versatility, dynamism, adaptability, and intelligence. Men cannot do what they do--work and have a family at the same time. But it's true that some women do not see themselves as capable of doing all these things, that's why they give up their careers for the sake of their families. Women should be given the chance to shine in the business world. This is why the government sets grants for procurement from businesses that are owned by women. It's only proper for them to be given that chance and see them as examples for everyone in the business world.

Deb Bailey said...

Women are certainly changing the world of small business. It's an exciting time! Thanks for your comments!

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