Women and Social Enterprise

24th January 2014

Sally Higham

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Last week I took part in a Guardian social enterprise discussion online. The subject was women and social enterprise and the lack of women leaders in this sector. Honestly, I don’t think it has ever crossed my mind that I am in a ‘minority’ or seen myself as any different to any new male social enterprise leadership position. I think it’s tough no matter what the gender, to raise the profile of a social enterprise and get start up funding.

However, when I thought about it I did concede that the tricky part for women is that many women who are at the ‘right’ age experience-wise (ie 30’3/40’s) are often knee deep in family stuff as the – usually – main family coordinator. I’m fortunate that I have a supportive husband to my endeavours but nevertheless, it’s challenging for him too. Added to this, the mix of family with business life and consequent time challenges means that female leaders often don’t network as much in my experience. Many contributors responded to my points on the Guardian discussion, offering networks for women in social enterprise. But I don’t think I will necessarily change my networking – I tend to work with who I think I can really add to, and take from, in terms of experience, knowledge and plain old sleeve rolling – the gender doesn’t come into it.

Do you have a view on women in social enterprise?