Business Voice
February, 2007

A dearth of women chief executives in the FTSE 100; yet more women starting businesses. Pioneers such as BUPA CEO Val Gooding and Baroness Hogg at the top of industry; yet enduring gender-based pay discrimination. It’s difficult to pin down the truth about women in business.

Margaret Heffernan blasts through the fog with her contention that women-owned companies are creating a “new norm” for entrepreneurial, business and management success. And she comes armed with hair-raising facts from the US: every day, 420 new women- owned firms are formed; and they’re growing faster, more profitably and stand a greater chance of sticking around.

Women, and women-owned businesses, tend to spot niches; keep values central; be more in tune with social trends; speak out when facing crisis; and see leadership as orchestration rather than barking orders. This, says Heffernan, is the future model of business success.

I was particularly struck by Barbara Krumsiek of Calvert Investments. She believes that funds will not be competitive if they don’t push companies to develop productive, equitable, healthy cultures.

Reading How She Does It (now titled 'Women on Top') feels like attending a kaleidoscopic, high-energy drinks party, packed to the gunnels with brave, buzzy, imaginative businesswomen. I left energised – and convinced.