07 Mar International Women’s Day!
For International Women’s Day 2019 #IWD2019, Donaco is taking part in the Balance for Better campaign by interviewing new joiner Emma. Having graduated from the University of Cambridge where she completed a course in entrepreneurship, Emma was eager to get involved with startups. We talk to Emma about her motivations and advice for women in startups.
Q) Do you think there are any barriers that prevent women from getting involved in entrepreneurship or the start-up scene?
ANS) I think this comes down to expectations and assumptions. The expectation that women will not enter this scene or become an entrepreneur or the assumption that women do not have the required skill set. This can manifest both subtly and more explicitly, from people being broadly more focused on a males career plans, than a females to more explicit discrimination. My advice to deal with this is to know your own mind, remain focused and determined. We have come a long way so far and are continuing to move forward, it’s great to see initiatives like IWD champion that.
Q) What interested you about working in the start-up scene?
ANS) I think at such an early career stage, working in a startup is extremely valuable, being able to connect with all levels and aspects of the business allows for strong growth and development. Further, I find the variety of problems and tasks to be fun and engaging.
Q) What do you think needs to be done to encourage women into STEM?
ANS) Encouraging equal opportunity is the most important thing, this means encouraging equal opportunity within the home, school and of course the job market. This starts at an incredibly early age. There is an abundance of research that suggests the way we treat children, based on their gender, can sway their choices and how they act. Minimising these biases is arguably one of the most important ways to achieve equal opportunities on this issue.
Q) What career advice would you give to young women?
ANS) Figure out what it is that you want by asking yourself; what you enjoy, what you value and how you want to develop. Ultimately, don’t be afraid to do something different from the crowd nor feel you have to live up to a certain stereotype.
Q) What positive actions or movements have you seen since working in the start-up space?
ANS) There are several organisations and campaigns that support women in entrepreneurship and startups both at a corporate level and an individual level. Working in the Imperial College Enterprise Lab, I find to be especially inspiring with women founders and entrepreneurs displayed around the walls, it creates a feeling of ‘I can do it, too’.