Lesley Riddoch wrote a while ago about this issue and I wanted to add my own thoughts, as I am a female business woman working and growing a business in the UK, based in Scotland.
The issue she discussed in her article was why women are lagging behind in the rush to vote Yes. As a female entrepreneur, the notion articulated by Professor John Curtice that “women lack the hunter-gatherer instinct and tend to be home-makers not risk-takers” is a view that belongs quite firmly in the man-cave that the Professor must occupy. Seriously, are we STILL debating whether women’s brains are up to it? Surely, we have evolved beyond that? Well, we have but it seems some of our fellow men have not.
Lesley’s view is one that I support wholeheartedly….”I’ve argued women fear independence might only mean limitless power for the unreconstructed dinosaurs that sadly still abound in Scotland – self-important, puffed up men (and women) who are hostile to minorities, social change and non-hierarchical ways of working”.
Having started-up my business over five years ago, survived the recession, grown and then restructured the business for future growth, I have earned my entrepreneur wings. Female entrepreneurship is an economic issue not a “female” issue and is one the other countries like the US have embraced. The US now has supplier diversity laws that require a certain percentage of supply chain purchases to come from female-owned businesses. We need both men and women to support women to start-up AND grow businesses.
Sadly, some of the so called business leaders that I have come across in Scotland belong firmly in the “unreconstructed dinosaurs” camp, with name-calling, belittling, sexist put-downs the norm. And woe betide letting any one know you might be a female entrepreneur that is also a MOTHER!! Then all respect goes right out the window. When I won Mumpreneur of the Year in 2010, the Chairman of a well established business networking group in Scotland congratulated me in a public forum but then went on to suggest that I might also go for the “Dumbpreneur” award next time. What astounding ignorance.
Is it any wonder that I chose to network and grow my business in London/Europe/US rather than look to my own country for that support? And that is a currently devolved country. As for what it would be like as a fully independent country, it makes me shudder.
So, Professor Curtice, it is not that my brain is wired to knit scarves and cook up a storm in the kitchen. It is actually wired to be courageous, brave, creative, intelligent, innovative and most of all entrepreneurial and believe me, if you want to be a female entrepreneur in Scotland, you are going to need all of those attributes.