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Today’s feminists can’t be entrepreneurs

Keith Tan
September 4, 2018

In recent history, male-dominance in the worlds of business (and other spheres) have come under attack. One example of this in Singapore is how female entrepreneur Jacqui Hocking attacked Charlton Media Group and the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award of having a lack of female representation in their line-ups.

It made me angry and I took her to task on her Facebook Feed. I decided to turn this into an article. Let us begin with a lay of the groundwork of facts.

1. Fact: There are more male than female entrepreneurs.
Men are twice as likely to start their own business. 10% of men start businesses, while only 5% of women do so.
2. Fact: Female entrepreneurship rates decline by as much as 50% after the age of 30.

3. Fact: The average age of successful entrepreneurs is between 42 to 45.
So if women are dropping out of entrepreneurship after the age of 30, wouldn’t that even skew it further towards males?

Given the statement of facts above, it is not then probabilistically skewed that any award should feature an overwhelming majority of men? Now, if that award only has 4 or 5 spots, would it not then be overwhelming in probability that it would feature all men? These are facts. Never mind the possible structural factors that got us here.

So this brings me to my central argument: which is that today’s feminists can’t be entrepreneurs. Now, the very basis of being an entrepreneur is to be cognizant of your market landscape, and to create asymmetrical returns with little to no resources. One cannot live in a delusion of facts not in existence. One cannot merely want, whine, complain to market dominance. One has to will it into action by sheer force, against unimaginable odds.

 Today’s feminists are whiners. They complain about the gender gap in business. They try and shame males. They believe they are entitled to gender equality. I make no comment on the correctness of such entitlement.

But entitlement has no place in business. Great entrepreneurs know that they are entitled to nothing. Every customer, every dollar of revenue has to be earned and is borne out of a struggle.

A struggle for male-female equality is very much the same as a struggle to establish and grow a business. One fights against structural forces. One has to find a way to outwit, outsmart, and outlast. Does an entrepreneur who whines that his competitors have more resources, more market share, more experience or more domain expertise get an investment? Undoubtedly no. The potential investors do not care for your problems. They only ask of you to provide to them the roadmap of how you are going to solve it. Time and again history has shown how Davids win over Goliaths.

But today’s feminists call out male dominance as Goliath and think that Goliath is going to step aside. No, Goliath is not going anywhere. So wake up and smell the cold hard truth. And if these feminists want to be entrepreneurs, then they are sorely in the wrong line of work. Because Goliath’s big foot is going to come crashing down on them.

PS: This is an opinion piece by Keith Tan, Group CEO of Wonderlabs. Wonderlabs is the leading service provider helping companies build and manage software development teams in Indonesia and Vietnam. Across our various shared and dedicated centers, we have over 350+ active software developers. Since our founding in 2015, we have grown rapidly through innovation and our relentless mission focus - Connecting you to success and productivity. Alumni of Wonderlabs have gone on to work at some of the biggest companies in Southeast Asia.

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