Korea has made a lot of progress when it comes to gender equality, however, they still have a long way to go, especially when it comes to female entrepreneurs.  You can check out our Top 10 Female Entrepreneurs in Korea. The gender ratio and the gender biases of Korean conglomerates have been a topic of contention for years.  Sadly, many Korean startups are going down the same path with male entrepreneurs outnumbering female entrepreneurs  5 to 1.  Women can bring a lot to the table, especially Korean women.  As more and more Korean women get into the Korean startup scene, the opportunities to hire women in this male-dominated startup space is growing.  Hiring more women is not enough, there need to be more Korean women in executive positions to really make an impact.

Korean women bring a higher level of social skills to the workplace that includes sensitivity and empathy.  Women tend to be better listeners and have more of an open mind.  Some might say women have a far better ability to communicate and get a message across that doesn’t come across as aggressive or brash.  Also, Korean women are great at attention to detail and they follow tasks head on and follow them through.  In a typical Korean household, the men work and the women take care of the finances.

Since over 50% of the market is female, most likely women will be using your product or service.  Women in general, have a stronger buying power which means that Women should be a part of the design, branding, and marketing.  Men and women buy differently.  Men are more instinctive while women like to compare and browse to find the best deal possible.  For example, women tend to be more involved in social media and other forms of digital marketing.  Therefore these are two completely different target markets.

Korean startups that have gender diversity have shown to be smarter, creative, and better at customer service.  A Fortune 500 research showed that companies with at least three female managers have seen their ROI increase by over 60%.  This is because men and women bring unique experiences and viewpoints.  Having too much of one or the other and you will be losing out.  Balance is the key.  More and more women are getting into technology in Korea.  Female enrollment in technical schools like KIAST has gone up in recent years.  So there should be a larger pool of talented female tech graduates in Korea over the next few years.

As the recent Uber scandal has shown.  Having a male dominated workforce could lead to problems.  Do you think Travis Kalanick would have gone to a host bar if half the executives were women?  The answer is no.  The bottom line is that a more diverse workforce will lead to better innovation.  To solve a problem you need different opinions and backgrounds.  The Korean government is also looking to lower the barriers for women seeking government funding.  There are talks for creating funds for female entrepreneurs as well as ensuring more women get promoted to executive positions in big corporations.

1 Comment

  1. Alix
    April 24, 2017 at 1:03 pm — Reply

    Thanks John for your timely & insightful advice when the Korean startup ecosystem needs to make another leap forward!

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