As part of Women Entrepreneurship week, the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies invited Meg Reilly, a Seton Hall alumna who graduated in 2012, to present the significance of women in business and gender equality on Oct. 22.
During Reilly’s time at the University, she was a member of the Gerald P. Buccino ‘63 Center for Leadership Development. She explained the number of opportunities she had, such as working alongside top executives. Through these experiences, she said she learned that all are equal and “all have the right to a seat at the table regardless of qualities.”
During her presentation, Reilly shared why women struggle in the business world. She explained that despite the growth women are having in the business world that imbalances are still present in their domestic lives.
“I think women certainly have some disadvantages, but none should be prohibitive — a lot of the limitations we put on ourselves,” Reilly said. “As a woman, there are a lot of pressures and responsibilities to be a great leader at work and at home.”
She said she believes that people need to develop better support structures and social norms for families so that women and men can perform at work and at home in comparable ways.
Susan Scherreik, founding director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, shared her input of women in business.
“One of the issues that women face in business is lack of funding,” Scherreik said. “But the statistics are improving. Twenty-five percent of the billion-dollar companies are owned by women entrepreneurs.”
Laura Sorrentino, a senior marketing and management major, said it is easy to feel intimidated in a male-dominated field. Sorrentino said confidence is important. She added that Women in Business workshops are a great way to prepare for interviews and resumes.
Aurora Pllaha, a freshman business administration major, said she believes that women with higher power will bring new, creative ideas that have not been thought of or executed before. She said women can change work environments to be more comfortable and understanding of situations.
“With small things like group work or even sports in gym class, we have to encourage people not to just work with their genders,” Pllaha said. “Diversifying groups open the path of more creativity and efficiency.”
Emma Brand, a senior finance and management major, is going to work for Credit Suisse. She said she believes that female entrepreneurs are a staggering minority.
“Most working females who have considered this lifestyle are discouraged by social norms, have limited access to funding, struggle to engage in fruitful networking and find the cultivation of a sustainable work and home life balance challenging,” Brand said.
Brand discussed several ways for students to get involved to encourage gender equality in the field. She said students should educate themselves about business practices. Another tip she discussed involved working in groups to better understand and practice team collaboration and learn the art of delegation.
Lastly, Brand believes that joining female mentorship programs is important as well as being a catalyst for representation and growth.
Scherreik said, “I am proud that we equally encourage our young men and our young women to pursue entrepreneurial activities.”
Alexa Coughlin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.