Saturday, 19 December 2009

Quota based selection, discrimination by any other name.

I will use the US figures as those in Australia as a little funky to say the least and what have been collected have not been done well.

That stated, the Center for Women’s Business research analysed the number of businesses by women in the US. The rate of growth of new business owned by women was found to be double that of all new US businesses (in the 1997-2002 period) and hence women are starting to gain in entrepreneurship by taking action and starting their own firms.

The US SBA (Small Business Administration) reported that businesses with a substantial female ownership account for 28 percent of all privately-owned businesses. Of Sole proprietorships owned by women, the growth in the period 1990 to 1998 in numbers, gross receipts and net income where all high. Over the 1990 to 1998 period, the percentage of sole-proprietorships owned by women increased from 33.5% (or 5.6 million businesses) to 36.8% (7.1 million businesses); a 3.3% increase. Unfortunately this is not a substantial growth and the growth rate following this period has declined.

One issue that does arise in these figures is that the turnover from these businesses created a mean of 17.1% of the total revenue figures from all sole proprietors. As those businesses that are owned by women businesses are not producing nearly the revenue of their male counterparts, it demonstrates a distinct division in the types of activity being undertaken.

Two-thirds of women operating a sole proprietorship were married. The SBA attributed a guess that “many of the small sole-proprietorships owned by women are run by stay-at-home mothers who run a service-based company part time”. This is JUST a guess mind you and not a good analysis (an unsupported assumption). There is a low-powered statistic that supports the supposition that women come in and out of business ownership.

27% of women business owners will invest in new technology such as computers and software over the next six months.(OPEN from American Express, November 2006)

56% of women business owners plan to make their business environmentally friendly by recycling waste products.(OPEN from American Express, November 2006)

85% of women surveyed don't believe being a woman is detrimental to their business success, while 32% believe it's beneficial.(Center for Women's Business Research, December 200)

What is interesting is that “48%, nearly half, of all privately-held firms are at least 50% owned by a woman or women” (Center for Women's Business Research, 2005). This however contrasts with the number of women on boards.

What is interesting from this is that the female owners of companies are NOT appointing women at the rate that you would seem to indicate should occur. In contradiction to the “old boys club” approach that seems to be how boards are supposed appoint members (according to what I see as touted), share-holders have a significant input. Statistically, if women selected other women as a primary choice based on their shareholdings, at least 45% of board members would be women.

Maybe we can assume from this that those with a shareholding appoint the best candidate and not make selections on sex?

If this is not the case, it is women that you are going to need to convince to appoint more women to boards. They are substantial shareholders and company owners after all and do make these decisions.

There are still too few women starting out and growing a business. We need to eliminate the barriers that remain, be it access to finance or to childcare or because of some other form of discrimination. If women started new businesses at the same rate as men, we would have more than 100,000 extra new businesses each year.
Patricia Hewitt, secretary for state for Trade and Industry

There are answer to these issues, stop the governments restrictive practices. Let people start childcare businesses, stop interfering in banking and finance. Free trade nearly had a chance 100 years ago, yet we are moving more and more into the regressive practices of a socialist state. For this we are ALL paying.

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