By Lucy Ruscitto | Contributor
Imagine this: You are a student at Baylor University, and as a liberal arts major, you have classes in nearly all of the buildings on campus. You are looking for a new place to study because as per usual, Moody is too loud and the Starbucks line is too long. So you pop into the Hankamer School of Business for a hot sandwich from Au Bon Pain and a secluded study spot among the modernesque, private study cubicles with your business friends. As soon as your foot hits the shiny marble floor, you are astounded, not only by the beauty of prestigious building, but by the amount of testosterone convulsing through the halls of Hankamer.
I experienced this when I attended my first entrepreneurship class on the first day of my freshman year, in the beautiful Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation in which Hankamer resides.
While Hankamer has accomplished many feats, like being ranked No. 57 in the country for “Best Business Schools,” according to US News & World Report and has a high-esteemed Angel Network for young entrepreneurs to invest in their products, other counteracting facts begin to topple their pyramid of prestige.
Baylor University has a staggering overall male-to-female ratio of 40-to-60. Despite these numbers, the US News & World Report reports the Hankamer School of Business gender ratio is 66.7% male and 33.3% female – nearly exactly opposite of the overall Baylor ratio. But why?
It isn’t wildly unknown that business has always been dominated by men, like many other industries in America. According to Kabbage.com, a technology company for small businesses, women made up for 47% of the workforce in 2016, yet women only owned 38% of all businesses in the United States, and only 5% of all venture capital for new start up projects went to women. Not only this, but Kabbage provided the generally undisclosed fact that only one in five executives are women.
Where does the root of this problem lie, besides under the historically enduring difficulty women have had in the business sector?
Grace Hanlon, a pre-business freshman from Orange County, Calif., says the overwhelmingly male-dominated statistics of the business school is troublesome to grasp. She says she isn’t sure why there is such a discrepancy in the number of females in the jump from undergraduate to graduate business studies at Baylor.
“It seems about half and half [male and female] in my undergrad classes,” Hanlon said.
Hanlon is practically correct when it comes to pre-business students. According to Baylor University, the undergraduate male-to-female ratio in the pre-business major is 57-to-43.
The facts are beginning to not add up. Hanlon and students across Baylor University, and other universities’ campuses all over the nation, are wondering the same thing: why does the drop-off happen in the continuation of women in the postgraduate business programs?
The media, in movies, books, reality shows and in the news, have contributed to this rock-hard stereotype that men belong in the business sector more than women. For instance, take the popular TV series “Shark Tank.” In the most recent season, two out of the six sharks, were female. What does that prove and reveal to our youth watching the show at home? To the female entrepreneurs attempting to kickstart their own business? That men’s opinions are valued more?
Hankamer can also be held accountable for contributing to this false role model archetype. In the school of business, 35% of the faculty are female. This number practically catalysts the Hankamer ratio of 67-to-33, male to female. Coincidence?
Just like the “Shark Tank” example, women will continuously feel discouraged to pursue an MBA at the business school after undergraduate if they don’t even have enough women in their specific fields teaching them what it’s like to be a successful businesswoman.
Without the proper inspiration and encouragement, it’s no wonder the female ratio in Hankamer is less than half of the males. If Baylor wants its next Barbara Corcorans and Lori Greiners of the world, it needs to take some time to prioritize their programs and what’s at stake, before they get eaten alive by the shark that is the modern world.
Lucy is a freshman journalism major from Yorba Linda, Calif.