by: Karolyn Maynard MBA ’18
On Friday April 20th, at the 14th Annual Smith Entrepreneurship Research Conference chaired by Professors Anil Gupta and David Kirsch, the Dingman Center’s Ladies First Initiative sponsored a panel discussion, “Gender and Entrepreneurship: Past, Present and Future.”
Sara Herald, our Ladies First champion, shared a thought-provoking statement to introduce the panel discussion: she described the mission of the Ladies First initiative as focused upon understanding the different barriers that female students face and how we can fix the system, not fix the women.
This was an apt introduction to spur further investigation in the area of gender and entrepreneurship, which brought 2 researchers, Mabel Abraham from Columbia University and David Ross from University of Florida, together with Dolly Oberoi, Co-Founder and Chairman of C2 Technologies, to discuss the topic of female entrepreneurship in the US.
The session chair and moderator, Rajshree Agarwal, asked salient questions and highlighted the reality that being a female founder has nearly universally negative outcomes, particularly in the US. As researchers and founders discussed the hypotheses and reasons for this, something became increasingly clear—even though the barriers have been reduced, it is a misconception to think that the barriers are gone.