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Launching While Female: Smashing the System That Holds Women Entrepreneurs Back (Paperback)
An exposé of the gender gap in entrepreneurship and a road map for a more inclusive and economically successful future for us all
Journalist and professor Susanne Althoff investigates the obstacles women and nonbinary entrepreneurs—especially those of color—face when launching, funding, and growing their companies, obstacles that persist because the current start-up world was engineered by and for white men. Through interviews with over a hundred founders across the country and in all industries, Althoff paints a picture of an entrepreneurial system rife with bias and discrimination, where women receive less than 3 percent of this country’s venture capital, struggle to find mentors in the wake of #MeToo, and are dismissed as “mompreneurs.”
The effects of this unequal system—a weaker economy, fewer jobs, less innovation—are felt by all of us, and Althoff explains how more equitable structures in business and entrepreneurship will benefit all people, not just those hoping to fund a startup.
By exploring some of the practical ways we can open the entrepreneurial system to everyone, Althoff provides a rallying cry and a way forward for women entrepreneurs and their allies, showing that change is urgent and within our reach.
About the Author
Susanne Althoff is a veteran journalist and an assistant professor at Emerson College in Boston, where she teaches publishing entrepreneurship and women’s media. She’s also served as advisor to women-led start-ups. Before joining Emerson in 2015, Althoff worked for 22 years as a magazine editor, including 6 years as the editor in chief of the Boston Globe Magazine. Her writing has appeared in WIRED, the Boston Globe, and other publications. Connect with her on Twitter @SusanneAlthoff and at susannealthoff.com.
“Debuts with a wise collection of advice and encouragement for aspiring female entrepreneurs . . . Althoff’s incisive, practical guide should be required reading for any entrepreneurial woman.” —Publishers Weekly
“Launching While Female should find enthusiastic readers among women who want to launch, but probably even more so among women who’ve already launched—for solidarity, for inspiration to seek out more support and community, for knowing they’re not alone in this endeavor, and that they’re paving the way for those who aspire, for those who are coming up a few steps behind them.” —Women’s Review of Books
“It is critically important that we continue to unpack and understand the nuance of how the white patriarchy continues to diminish, stunt, and end the careers of the 70 percent of us who are not them. Launching While Female provides an incisive, well-researched, and clear view into the small and large obstacles for women in the entrepreneurial and venture-capital realms. A must-read for those seeking to understand how sexism continues to happen in business and how we might go about trying to change it.” —Naomi McDougall Jones, author of The Wrong Kind of Women
“Susanne Althoff’s Launching While Female is opening the door wider to expose what women founders have known for years: there’s a different set of rules for launching a business if you’re a woman.” —Nikki Porcher, Black woman activist and founder of Buy from a Black Woman
“Launching While Female offers new and essential insights on the challenges facing women entrepreneurs in today’s male-dominated start-up world and illustrates why helping diverse founders succeed matters to society. This is an important book that highlights start-up stories along with key strategies for investors, educators, and civic leaders to help nurture and support the next generation of business leaders and big ideas.” —Heather Cabot, coauthor of Geek Girl Rising: Inside the Sisterhood Shaking Up Tech
“If the lack of measurable progress for women-led businesses teaches us anything, it’s that it is not enough to simply elevate women. In Launching While Female, Althoff reminds us of the importance of demolishing the vast collection of myths that hold women back, from the absurdity of meritocracies to self-made delusions. Countering a sea of pointless, aggressively positive platitudes, Althoff gives founders a much-needed, data-driven reality check and stellar examples to emulate.” —Nathalie Molina Niño, investor and author of Leapfrog: The New Revolution for Women Entrepreneurs
“Susanne Althoff has written a comprehensive and insightful book on women entrepreneurs and the realities they (still) face in launching ventures. Importantly, it distinguishes the increased challenges faced by women of color and nonbinary entrepreneurs in today’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. As an educator, I think this book constitutes required reading!” —Lakshmi Balachandra, gender and entrepreneurship researcher, associate professor of entrepreneurship, Babson College