Perspectives

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Women Slowly Crack Innovation Glass Ceiling


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Many more men than women are likely to become innovators or entrepreneurs.

Why is that?

Some experts say that there are fewer women in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics programs in colleges – commonly called STEM programs. And, there are fewer women in STEM professions overall. Therefore, there are fewer innovators in high tech industries.
Other experts argue that venture capital groups and other investors looking for startup companies are dominated by men and therefore, women innovators are often overlooked or passed over.

Some experts claim that there is a paucity of women entrepreneurial role-models and that discourages other women from pushing a new idea or concept.

Other women report that the entrepreneurial workspace is often a hostile work environment for women.

Spectrum talked with four women to get their perspectives. Three work directly with female innovators and entrepreneurs and one has lived a life of an entrepreneur by running her own corporation.

Jennifer Simon is the Executive Director of Regional Innovation at Ohio University and has spent the bulk of her professional career leading entrepreneurial efforts.

Carol Clark is one of the founders of X Squared Angels, a venture capital group that focuses on supporting diversity leadership in businesses across the Midwest.

Beverly E. Jones is an executive coach in Washington, D. C. and author of a new book Think Like and Entrepreneur Act Like a CEO.

Finally, we talked with Jane Grote Abell, the chairwoman of the Board of Directors of Donatos Pizza, Inc. She tells about her personal experience rising through the corporate ranks to now be the leader of and innovator within a major corporation with over 4,500 employees and over 165 locations in seven states. It had gross sales of $162 million last year.