Alana, Deary, Alana Samuels discussed on The Indicator from Planet Money


Stacey. You've got a new book out this week. Yes i do. It is called machiavelli for women. I love this item. Thank you. It was very fun to right. It's all about women and work and a lot of it's sort of based on some of the economic data that's kind of frustrated me for a long time. That's right one of the big ones has to do with company leadership. So deary nearly. Eighty percent of ceos are male. Nearly ninety percent are white and these numbers haven't really budged in a decade and it could never understand quite what was going on especially since some of the other numbers in the economy were so promising and exciting. Things just seem stuck in this area. And as i was doing research for my book this article caught my eye. It was written by alana samuels. She is the senior economics correspondent for time magazine and apparently she had been noticing. These numbers as well. I was just feeling very frustrated and thinking. What can i do about this. And the only thing i can think of is to stop giving my money to all these businesses that are run by men and giving them. Instead to businesses run by women alana decided to buy only products from companies that will owned or run by women. This is the indicator from planet. Money i'm stacey mac smith. I'm jerry woods today on the show. We follow alana on a journey to buy female and we what that reveals about women and the us economy. That does not sound that hard a week right. I don't think it would be that hard famous. Last words what could possibly go. This message comes from. Npr sponsor capital one capital. One auto navigator can help you find a car get prequalified instantly and see your real monthly payment without impacting your credit score capital one. What's in your wallet. Terms and conditions apply more at capital. One dot com slash auto navigator. Alana samuel started out her week long journey to buy only products from female owned companies and female run companies. Feeling really optimistic. After all about forty percent of small businesses in the us are owned by women. That should mean a lot of options. The main things you needed was food groceries for the week most immediately for monday to now. She's got a new baby and didn't want anything to elaborate. Yep so monday. Dinner was spaghetti with turkey. Ragu very simple. She headed to her neighborhood safeway. So just kinda start going up and down the aisles. And i would see you know. There's a pasta. Sauce has a woman on the cover. I google and then it'd be like nope can't getting so frustrated. Every single company is either run by a man or owned by some giant conglomerate like johnson and johnson or png. That's run by a man. So you're like in front of in the pasta alec in front of all the pastas like googling companies right so finally a lot decided to bail on safeway and she went across town to a call up grocery store and she figured they focus on local products and smaller brands. Maybe some hope there but still was no pasta so i found a one on on the end of aisle and it turned out the woman but this pasta was like thirteen dollars for a box of penny. Which would usually cost like three dollars. That is some pricey penny for sure for your pretty pity. It's very pricey pivot back to the story a lot of relief. She could find anything at all and she also scored with tomato sauce too. I found some pasta sauce that had a woman's face on it and the business a female celebrity chef but ground turkey. That was a bust. She couldn't find any women owned companies. Selling meat is it surprising to you that she had so much trouble. No it's not surprising. This is julia pollock. She is a labor economist. And the chief economist at ziprecruiter she says most of the businesses in the us are not in fact started by white men. Women start fully forty percent of the businesses in the us. Black women right now are starting businesses at record pace but most of these businesses are tiny. Many have no employees. They're like oetzi stores and ebay stores and the reason that they are so tiny. Says julia is money. If you look at some of the figures there really quite dramatic women led startups received. Just two point three percent of venture capital funding in twenty thousand twenty. That's according to punch base figures and black women just zero point three four percents so it's pretty staggering belts zero three four percent so like not even a half a percent like a third of one percent like a rounding error. Yes and it's not just venture capital. Women are about half as likely to receive a small business loan and if they do get alone that loan tends to be a fraction of what marlborough is good. And it's not for lack of entrepreneurs right now. In fact the number of women going into business is rising really fast. In fact around seventeen percent of black women are starting a business or running a new business right now that outpaces white women and white men the thing is says julian most of these businesses will probably fail and the reason julia says that comes back down to that lack of money. What happens to people like when their access to money in an economy is restricted. It means that whenever there's you know rapid dramatic growth and the stock market is hitting new. Highs they are missing out on those games and it means that whenever a crisis hits they are the hardest hit we saw this at the start of the covert pandemic women and minority owned businesses closed at far higher rates than businesses owned by white man. These businesses have much smaller financial cushions when there is a recession and they aren't able to draw down on savings or to borrow many women owned and minority of businesses that did not have that ability and enforced business and when women and minorities do get. Funding says julia. It often comes with a lot of strings. like higher. interest rates or stricter terms alana. Samuels are women only shopper. Fanned this when she started examining some of the products that she did find. Remember the fancy thirteen dollar penny. It came from this company called semolina artisanal pasta based in pasadena california. I mean it was amazing pasta. It was it was extremely delicious. A lot of track down. The pasta maker leah ferret sanni and alana says that leah told her at one point thinks started taking off and whole foods. Were interested in carrying pasta. That would take a company into the big time. If she wanted to get into these national grocery stores she was going to have to get investors and just make her company a lot bigger. But for lia getting those investors was going to mean basically handing over control of her business. Giving them the rains. I did find a lot of companies that have been founded by women but then when they had to scale and grow bigger they were either acquired by companies run by men or a male ceo took over or they had to take on a bunch of male investors who are basically calling the shots. Many women that alana spoke to sold their businesses off or just chose not to grow. That's what ferrets on. He decided she said no to whole foods and she kept control of pasta company and one of her friends was like. Why don't you just stay small. And that's what she did. But i think a lot of women owned businesses. Have that choice to either. Stay small and keep control or go big and get investors and kind of seed control. Julia pollack says that this is long. Been the situation but she thinks things are now changing like a lot of women in minorities started businesses during the pandemic and that led to a lot of demand for venture capital and loans. And now there's a bunch of startups catering to that. Demand for loans with names like linda fund box on deck and cabbage.

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