Today is the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day – an opportunity to celebrate the social, political and economic achievements of women around the world.
For women in business, there is much to celebrate. As the Globe and Mail recently reported in their series, Women in Power, women now make up 47% of Canada’s workforce and 36% of Canada’s 2.7 million self-employed. That’s a 26% increase since 1976!
Nevertheless, there is lots of room for improvement. Here are some interesting stats to consider from Canada and the US:
- Women account for 47% of Canada’s workforce yet only 17% of corporate officers and 13% of directors at Canada’s top 500 private and public sector companies are women (Catalyst Inc.)
- Only 7% of new technology companies in the United States are founded by women (TheFunded.com)
- In 2009, only 11% of venture-capitalist backed firms in the United States had current or former female CEOs (TheFunded.com)
- Of the roughly 600 companies that MaRS actively works with, less than 10% are led by women
Each year, the UN selects a general theme for International Women’s Day. This year the focus is on equal access to education, training and science and technology — including the promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and decent work.
At MaRS, this theme resonates!
Everyday we work with exciting science and tech-based start-ups that are solving the world’s wicked problems but spend a good deal of our time wondering, “Where are all the women entrepreneurs?” While our mandate is to support all emerging companies in Ontario, we recognize that supporting women’s advancement in these businesses is crucial to Canada’s ability to innovate and compete globally.
So, let’s talk!
This is an open call for ideas and feedback. What can we do better to support your business?
Are you working to support women in business? Tell us who you are and what you’re up to.
Interested in getting more involved?
- The Taskforce for Women’s Business Growth – Advocating for new strategies that further support the growth and success of female-owned businesses, this taskforce has developed the Blueprint for Economic Growth – Action Strategies to Support Canadian Female-owned Enterprises and is currently conducting roundtables across the country to speak with women about how to develop better policy and programs for women in business.
- The Women Entrepreneurship Lecture Series at McMaster Univeristy Innovation Park with upcoming visiting speakers on March 28th 2011 and April 18th 2011.
Andrea is the former Partnership Manager for MaRS Data Catalyst. In her role, she helped launch the Innovation Data Partnership, bringing together all the regional innovation centres in Ontario to make better decisions using their data. See more…