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Women Entrepreneurs Can Close the Gender Gap

Women Entrepreneurs Can Close the Gender Gap

Women in full-time work currently earn 15% less per hour than men on average, according to gender equality campaign group Fawcett.

A GEM 2010 Women’s Report revealed 30,000 women lose their jobs as a result of becoming pregnant every year – highlighting the point that the gender gap can still divide 21st century business.

Some women from cultures that have historically fared badly for gender equality are now enrolling in MBA courses to bridge the gender gap and establish successful careers as women entrepreneurs.

QS caught up with Risako Muto, 34, from Japan, an MBA student at EMLYON Business School in Lyon, France, to discuss gender inequality and women entrepreneurs.

“Most males do not do housework in Japan,” says Risako.“Females have to work in the office and then work at home afterwards. If males were encouraged to help with housekeeping, women could concentrate on business more.

“Japan is known for its masculine culture and some companies prefer to promote males instead of females,” says Risako. Women must demonstrate greater credibility than male counterparts to be promoted in Japan, which stifles women entrepreneurs and an MBA provides this edge, she claims.

Wealth and global gender inequality

Risako’s experiences of gender inequality echo round the globe: there are just seven countries in the world where women take part in business at rates equal to men — Panama, Thailand, Ghana, Ecuador, Nigeria, Mexico and Uganda, according to The Economist.

In the EU, women account for just 16% of board members and just 19 out of 582 of the biggest companies in the region had a female chairperson or president, with only 14 of this same number being led by a female CEO, says Ireland’s 2013 EU presidency website.

Coco Chanel, Estée Lauder and Oprah Winfrey are cited frequently as successful women entrepreneurs– but shouldn’t there be more? Fortunately, recent evidence suggests the environment for entrepreneurial women is ripening.

The number of wealthy women in the US is growing twice as fast as the number of wealthy men. Meanwhile, Forbes has documented suggestions that women will control up to two-thirds of US wealth by 2030.

Business success fostered by EMLYON International MBA

Risako’s MBA course comprises a 60% female majority, smashing the common perception of a male-dominated business environment.

“It’s perfect at EMLYON,” says Risako. “I heard that in some schools women tend to be assigned to a note-taker role in a team – that isn’t the case here. EMLYON also organises a variety of courses related to entrepreneurship, especially in the second semester. We can choose entrepreneurship as our specialization.« 

Indeed, the International MBA taught in English, focuses on entrepreneurship for business success. Classes are small with large cohort diversity. Plus, an entrepreneurial leadership project allows students to launch a business project.

EMLYON MBA students also have access to the World Entrepreneurship Forum, launched in 2008 and now comprising over 300 members. The forum meets annually in either Lyon or Singapore to network as well as to share ideas and business success secrets.

International Learning Trips offer exchange programs, lasting 1-3 months, and expose students to new business environments and cultural feasts.

EMLYON Business School is located in the World Heritage city of Lyon, within convenient proximity for scenic escapes, being a mere two-hour drive from both the mountains of the Alps and the coastline of the Mediterranean Riviera. Paris – renowned for its high-fashion and romantic pursuits – is just a two-hour train journey away.

Beyond gender inequality

Joseph LiPuma, director of EMLYON’s International MBA programme, says: “The International MBA programme is entirely dedicated to helping a select group of individuals become worldwide entrepreneurial leaders.

“If you are passionate about making a difference for your organisation, your community, and the world, and if you see yourself as an innovator, calculated risk taker, change master, intrapreneur and doer, join our MBA.

“Beyond the classroom, next academic year, you will develop this aspirational spirit, push boundaries and excel with us,” he adds.

Risako concludes: “If the world improves gender inequality in the workplace it will lead to a better world. In order to accelerate this, females should take responsibility for their future.”

Written by QS for EMLYON Business School

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