As Startup Daily has mentioned before, New Zealand has a long history when it comes to gender equality. In fact, back in 1893, it was the first country in the world to allow women to vote. It was also the first country that ever had all of its highest offices chaired by women at the same time: the Sovereign Queen Elizabeth II, the Governor General Dame Silvia Cartwright, Prime Minister Helen Clarke, Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias, and Speaker of the House of Representatives Margaret Wilson all served together between 2005 and 2006.
Upon visiting Wellington earlier this year, I found myself sitting in front of so many women in tech during my visit and realised it was an ecosystem light-years ahead in terms of its diversity and celebration of its female founders and employees. There was a feeling of wanting to create their own destinies.
According to the latest MYOB Business Monitor Survey: Women in Business, this is the very reason why many Kiwi women decide to launch their own ventures.
The results of the survey showed that 35% of women had a need for flexibility in roles where they were doing what they wanted, when they wanted. A further 29% stated that they got into business because they wanted a lifestyle change. 28% of respondents began their own ventures because they had a passion for what they do, and 20% of women wanted to spend more time with their families.
Interestingly, 64% of women surveyed said they were happy with their work-life balance. According to recent reports and research around the same topic in Australia, that number is actually more in line with our lack of work-life balance combo.
In a statement, Natalie Feehan, MYOB general manager of group marketing, said that while establishing a profitable, growing business is a key goal, it is clearly not the sole driver for [New Zealand’s] female entrepreneurs, who also value improving their lifestyle and having more time for family and friends.
“Women are re-shaping the way business is done in New Zealand, while making a significant contribution to the economy,” says Feehan. “From the Business Monitor survey and the business owners who have contributed to the report, we see that women are focused on growth, and they are doing so in a way that allows them to achieve a better work/life balance.”
Statistics from Wellington Council also show that, more than ever before, women-led businesses in the tech space are growing, their revenues are increasing, and they are thinking global from day one.
In addition to having such strong political figures to look up to, New Zealand women have also been witness to strong female tech founders building and selling tech companies. These women include Victoria Ransom, who has built and exited two companies, Access Trips in 2006, and more recently, Wildfire Interactive, which was acquired by Google in 2012. Ransom is currently Director of Product at Google in Mountain View. Then there is Claudia Batten, again with two exits under her belt, having sold her first company Massive to Microsoft in 2006, and her crowdsourcing advertising agency Victor and Spoils being acquired by French company Havas in 2012.