Women, Business, and the Humanities...

As someone who attends a liberal arts college and has been passionate about the humanities all my life, I never thought I would want to take on a career in business. Growing up in a conservative business environment that defined both of my parents’ careers, I developed a resentment for business and entrepreneurship because I saw my parents only benefiting off of other people’s loss. At the same time, I have always had an eye for profit—not just in the monetary sense, but also “profit” of ideas, satisfaction, and knowledge. Recognizing this distinction has led me to question whether and where economic profit and profit of ideas intersect.

Many of my humanities classes at Scripps have set out to teach us how to think. We learn to construct compelling arguments, defend our case, and present our knowledge in a way that is accessible to a diverse audience. I have found that many of these classroom skills are equally applicable to the modern business world, which challenges you to always be thinking of new, creative ways to sell a product and communicate your business plan to the customer, fighting off competitor companies while doing so.

My goal as a Scripps student who is passionate about both entrepreneurship and feminism is to attain a position of leadership in my career where I can combine social responsibility with my feminist beliefs. I will do so by working hard to combine the liberal arts education approach to idea building that I’ve learned here at Scripps with the foundation of business instilled in me from my upbringing.

With more women embracing the growing, powerful spirit of female entrepreneurship and pursuing a career in business, women-owned companies are on the rise. I’d like to explore how this trend has accelerated over the past few years and how we can encourage women to follow this career path. Between 1997 and 2007, the number of women-owned businesses grew by 44%, expanding at twice the rate of men-owned firms and adding roughly 500,000 jobs to the market. According to the US Department of Commerce, women prefer to work in sectors that benefit local communities, such as public health and education services, while men lean toward large corporate sectors that have shifted overseas in recent years.

Yet with the majority of large-scale firms still owned and operated by men, there is a hard-shelled, male-dominated network that's difficult to crack. Despite significant barriers, women continue to show up, defy the odds, and make their mark. Successful women-owned businesses have certainly become an inspiration to others who intend to venture into similar careers, allowing these fierce female-run companies to reach incredible new heights.

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