Those who know me well, know I’m a cynic.
Waiting for my flight to Texas on Saturday for the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network conference (DWEN), I was informed that someone’s luggage had been sucked into the engine (!!!) and the flight was cancelled. It was a further seven hours before I was on my way. I had almost premeditated the fact that something unexpected would happen, and I was proved correct.
Now, most journalists know not to reveal too much about themselves and their own political persuasions. So I share my opinions with a trusted few. But when it comes to feminism, I shout it loudly and proudly from the rooftops, and to anyone who will listen.
And I must admit, lately I’ve had plenty of reasons to feel cynical, and my feminist tendencies have only been reinforced, and reinforced again.
From women being largely absent from the front bench of federal governance, to the gender pay gap remaining at 17.6% – I have wondered whether we’re at a standstill. Will women ever be equal?
Yet something has changed my mind this week. Something has made me believe that help is at hand. Having spent the past three days with female entrepreneurs from all over the world, I feel rejuvenated, inspired, and almost breathless.
The women I have met are extraordinary. There is the entrepreneur from Nevada who has started a space travel company. The woman who escaped communist Romania as an orphan, and has gone on to found two companies – one building schools, the other revolutionising learning through play. The African-American lady who grew up impoverished in the projects of Austin, made her first million by 15 years of age, and is now employed as an engineer at Intel. And so many more.
That women are just as capable of achieving great business success, is not in question.
What is in question, is whether we will have the courage to live our entrepreneurial dreams, or let the fear of failure take over.
As Vincent van Gogh said, “When you think you can’t paint, start painting.” So there’s a choice here: do you choose to live in comfort, or in courage?