As a team of female founders, CAMP has paid close attention to achieving equal rates of participation of men and women. We believed this is important because research shows that women can be more reluctant to identify themselves as leaders. We were proud to have brought together a group of emerging leaders that were evenly represented by men and women.
But beyond participation rates, it is also important to understand how men and women experience the program differently. This is one thing that our evaluation examined. Analysis of the survey data shows up a few key differences depending on the gender of participants, and these offer valuable insights into how gender affects the program outcomes.
When asked about why they chose to attend CAMP, men were more likely to say that they wanted “entrepreneurship training/understand the start-up landscape”. So, in CAMP, men were more specifically interested in building their entrepreneurial skills base than women.
This may have carried through into the outcomes of the CAMP ThinkTanks. According to the survey data, participants who continued with their ThinkTank project after the conclusion of CAMP were more likely to be men. Men were also more likely to say that they have started a business since attending CAMP, and felt more strongly that they can create their own opportunities.
This may be an outcome that is specific to this particular cohort of CAMPers. However it may also point to critical gender difference in expectations and how men and women view their place in the economy. Certainly these outcomes are in line with the rates of male and female entrepreneurship in Australia. However this difference is less pronounced in China.
When it comes to leadership, however, women seemed to have gained more benefit. Women felt more strongly that CAMP had made them feel more confident in their professional abilities. They were also more likely agree that CAMP had given them the tools to be a creative leader.
The survey data does not give us any clues as to why this might be the case. It is possible that the leadership style taught and modelled throughout CAMP was one that resonated more strongly with women. During the qualitative interviews, one female CAMPer specifically mentioned that she appreciated the leadership style of Andrea (CAMP CEO), while another interviewee mentioned that she was inspired by the all-female founder team of CAMP. Conversely, none of the male CAMPers commented on gender at any stage during the qualitative interviews.
So there are definite differences in outcomes for men and women. Knowing this can help us explore different ways of addressing these topics so men and women can make the most of thier experience with CAMP.