Career - Why do women make great 'free agents'

Career - Why do women make great 'free agents'
How about this for evidence that women and "free agency" go together:
  • Women start five times as many new businesses as do men.
  • Women are much more likely to leave a job that doesn't fit and to strike out on their own.
  • Women are much less likely than men to have adequate retirement income, and so the need for them to work longer is greater.
  • Women are much better than men at listening to customers and employees - and, hence, they are more likely to make a go of their own ventures.
  • Women are much less fettered by tradition than men, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to get a job done.

In short, free agency offers women a fantastic way to take back their own lives! In her book Our Wildest Dreams: Women Entrepreneurs Making Money, Having Fun, Doing Good, author and entrepreneur Joline Godfrey writes about exhaustive interviews with all kinds of women doing their own thing - everyone from Anita Roddick of the Body Shop to two female crane operators. Her basic theme: Women can do whatever they set their minds to, so long as they believe in it and are careful to find the resources and support they need. Godfrey was once a social worker who functioned as one of the first "intrapreneurs" at the Polaroid Corporation, creating teaching/training modules and games that would sell Polaroid film. With the blessings of senior management, this Fortune 500 company turned out to be an incubator for her own ideas. After the success of her first book, Godfrey went on to found a company in the US called An Income of Her Own, which offers workshops and camps for adolescent girls on how to be economically self-sufficient, as well as training programs for adults eager to keep the movement alive. Her next book was appropriately titled No More Frogs to Kiss.

What Godfrey is teaching girls - and all females - is that they are inherently excellent free-agent material: they just have to keep reminding themselves of that.

Women become free agents partly because they have an innate proclivity to be good at it, and partly because, in a sexist, racist, ageist world, it's very often the best way for them to take care of themselves.

Here's a reminder from George Eliot, a female author who didn't even dare to use her real name in her own time: "It is never too late to be what you might have been."

- Barbara Reinhold