Pick up any business, tech or innovation magazine and you’ll find the same old same old names revered and exemplified: Jobs, Zuckerberg, Bezos, Page, Musk, Branson.
Of course their accomplishments and innovations have been world changing.
AND…. The truth is women have been innovating in ways that are disruptive and hugely impactful as well. We just don’t hear about them as much. Here are just some areas where women are leading and innovating:
- Customized, AI driven solutions for skin and hair care
- Machine learning to develop drugs for complex neurodegenerative disorders
- A solution that replaces standardized testing with tests that measure problem-solving ability
- A disruptive travel site dedicated to travel stories and tips for people of color
- A self-driving bus service to to make public transport more accessible
- Making fertility lab tests cheaper and easier
- An app that sends Snapchat users short stories in the form of messages.
- Period underwear that replaces traditional feminine hygiene products and enormous landfill waste.
- A startup that gives former foster kids and once-incarcerated youths culinary training and fair wage jobs.
(Notice how none of these solutions involve colonizing the moon? ;))
Now, how many of these women and their companies have you heard or read about? My guess is not many.
Here’s why rattling off a list of female innovators is a challenge for most of us. It has a lot to do with opportunity and visibility.
Women often don’t get the mentorship and coaching they need, which is often very easily accessible to men. Additionally women have the additional burden of caregiving that throws them off for several years at a time.
When women do in fact innovate and disrupt, their accomplishments aren’t acknowledged or celebrated as much. (Hello Ada Lovelace!). This is because most media is controlled and owned by men. Centuries of suppresssion begins to affect women’s mindset around what they can and can’t achieve, who they believe they are, and how big they can play.
Take a moment to pause and ask yourself these three questions:
- Are you asking for/receiving the support and guidance you need to launch or scale your disruptive product/service?
- Are you comfortable being visible and in fact, seeking even more visibility to create awareness around your offering?
- Are you doing the important mindset work to get out of your own way and play a bigger game?
I might not know you personally, but what I do know is this: your gifts, your genius, your brilliance, your voice and your values are needed. Desperately needed to be precise. And I invite you to do whatever inner/outer work you need to be seen and acknowledged for the badass, disrupter you are.