Welcome to Glorious & Cash – Les Glorieuses launched this newsletter to talk about why money is power and matters for gender equality. In partnership with Women’s March Global, we’re taking this revolution worldwide.
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I want to start something new, by Esther Attias
YOU THINK ABOUT IT IN THE SUBWAY ON YOUR WAY TO WORK. You fight it back when you see your desk buried under your files. You daydream about it when your boss hangs his tasteless trenchcoat on the coat hanger. During your 5pm meeting, it has become an emergency. And when you take the train back home, with Vendredi sur Mer’s line jingling in your head, and you
drop your bag on the floor as you open the door, you know. “I need to get out of here. I’m going to start my own business.”
WHY IT’S TERRIFYING. The numbers aren’t great. According the French National Institute of Statistics, business founders are 39% female in 2018. Sectors are not gender-based : most womxn go into “care”, a choice which is arguably considered “feminine” : healthcare and social empowerment (75%), family help (70%), teaching (50%)… These sectors generate less income and less investment.
On the flip side, womxn are underrepresented in big-money areas like finance and tech. About 12%
of fundraising French startups in 2017 are womxn-lead, according to a study by Start-Her and KPMG. The Dalia Resarch Institute shows that 7 employees out of 10 in the Silicon Valley are male, in giant firms such as Facebook and Google.
So many factors are discouraging : fear and self doubt, internalized gender stereotypes or felt daily, a lack of information, the lack of role models around…
WHY IT’S POSSIBLE. Let’s take a step back. The
system is changing and is welcoming more womxn. In France, female incubators such as Willa or Les Pionnières help empower womxn ; more than 500 female networks connect us to each other ; and womxn-oriented contests and prizes aim at shedding light on female-led businesses.
Womxn also have to opportunity to start their startup within a big group – this is called “intrapreneuring”. They benefit from the advantages of a big company – its network, its infrastructure and its good people – without its disadvantages.
THE SACRED FIRE. All entrepreneurs agree. You want to start your business ? Embrace the paperwork ; don’t count the hours you spend working,
master your daily life chores (the groceries shopping, your partner, your cat…) ; be patient and forgiving ; do not give up as obstacles come up your way… Kindle that sacred fire.
More importantly : don’t be afraid to fail. Worst case scenario : leading a short-lived business is still a very cool line on your resume… when you apply to well established firm full of grumpy white males.
In 2017, 43.882 women died from cancer – 25% of which died from breast cancer. Few beauty products are adapted to the needs of womxn with specific needs due to chemotherapy. Judith Levy and Juliette Couturier launched MÊME, a line of beauty products that is designed for extremely sensitive skins. At Glorious&Cash, we are fond of this brand which extends to all womxn – and not just healthy womxn – the opportunity to use cosmethics if they want to.
Being an entrepreneur is the new cool. Yet, most people forget that launching your startup is quite risky. In 2019 France, a study estimates that the life span of 60 to 75% of all startups is 4 years. The think-tank 001startups argues that 90% of startups fail.
You want to be a startupper ? “Be it in terms of money, investment and entrepreneuring : know yourself before you start anything,” says Imène Mahazi, CEO of OwnYourCash. She founded and is the CEO of OwnYourCash, a Paris-based fund which finances womxn and minority-led businesses. She also provides courses to educate inexperienced men and womxn into investment savvy business angels.
“Everyday, I meet people who want to become startuppers. The first question I ask them is : “what kind of project to you want ?” Here are a few suggestions :
1/ You want to be your own boss
? Go for a business that will take time to grow, slowly yet strongly. But you won’t care too much about VCs, and they won’t be interested in your project – and that’s OK !
2/ You want to make a lot of money as fast as you can ? Beware ! don’t be fooled by illusions of quick money and the entrepreneurial trend…
3/ You wish to explore your passion or provide answers to unaswered questions ? Then maybe you need to think NGO.
4/ You believe in an ambitious project and you have identified true needs within a certain community ? Go for a startup which will burn a lot of $$$$ in the short run.
Maharzi has a second piece of advice for you. “Don’t wait to get to grips with your money. Learn how to budget, look up basic financial concepts, educate yourself money and finance-wise ! This will be useful for later.” French womxn are late on the subject. Womxn with undergraduate degrees are as knowledgeable about finance and money as… the average German male – which includes workers and employees with little qualification. Worse : “when asked about inflation rates
and interest rates, womxn are as knowledgeable as… uneducated Spanish males”, according to a 2017 study. This is kind of depressing… but it’s not over yet !
Do you have to be rich to invest ? Most wanabe investors are repeatedly given this understandable – yet questionable – piece of advice. When you buy shares from a business and invest your money, you do undertake a risky operation. This money is potentially lost if the startup you invested in crashes ; on a short term basis, your money is blocked in shares – and unavailable when life treats you mean. And if you want to invest in that super cool, original, and young startup, the risks you take on your money are even greater. True, you better have soft cushion of green bills stacked up safely on your savings account before betting on risky investments.
Consequently, people with little money start out with a strong disadvantage, which necessarily impacts womxn, who make 25% less than their white male counterparts ; Latinas and African-American womxn are paid 58 cents ont the dollar for every white male, on average (we do hope you know these numbers by heart already !). In France, men own 37% more financial assets than women, according to a 2017 study.
Business Angel Imène Maharzi will not have it this way. “You can invest with NO money, or at least
very little !”, she kept repeating me. Damn, it feels good.
“Women mentor, counsel, open their network with and for their mentees who start their own businesses. This expertise and support are extremely valuable when they are given on the long run. I believe womxn should ask for financial compensation, in the form of share capital.” We need to stop providing valuable help for free. in other words : let’s put a number on the work we do.
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A MESSAGE FROM OUR PARTNER
For more than a 100 years, L’Oréal has been dedicated to beauty. With its international flotilla of 36 brands and its 86.000 employees, the Group achieved 26.9 billion euros of sales, its best year of sales growth in more than 10 years in 2018.
L’Oréal has long been a leader in gender equality. Worldwide, as of 2018, women account for 69% of our workforce, 47% of our management committee members, 31% of our Executive Committee members and 54% of our key positions.
L’Oréal firmly believes in Diversity and Inclusion, and is convinced that Women’s leadership must be promoted in order to achieve a more
inclusive workplace. Its commitments across the years have marked the Group as one of the leading organisations globally: in 2018, women represent 46% of the board membership, 54% of the Group’s key positions, and 66% of the Global brand general managers. L’Oréal was ranked Top gender-balanced company in Europe by Equileap in 2018 and is among the TOP 100 companies in the Bloomberg 2018 Gender Equality Index.