Still on our business Matter, we look into the difficulties and trials the women folks especially the younger ones face in the quest for making an honest living for themselves.
Yes, it comes to a point where one has to take up the mantle and fend for herself, it could be because she’s of age and embarrassed to keep taking from family and friends, or because of the unemployment rate, or maybe she has a passion for what she wants to venture into. The reasons could be endless.
However, as a young Female, it is twice as harder to wake up one morning, decide on what to pursue and achieve it as easily as a man would (well for the serious minded ones who wants to do things honestly)
Truth is Women’s participation in the global economy is fundamental to sustained economic growth, and men need to lend more support — and capital — to achieve this future. This is particularly apparent in many emerging markets, where the economic empowerment of women remains a concept, rather than a reality.
The only thing harder than being an entrepreneur is being a female entrepreneur. Despite all the blood, sweat and tears that founders pour into their start-ups, statistics indicate that female entrepreneurs still start their companies with 50% less capital than their male counterparts.
This needs to change, not only because gender parity is essential, but because what’s good for female entrepreneurs is good for the global economy.
In addition to men’s support, female entrepreneurs need the guidance of other female leaders.
One of the major reasons female entrepreneurs receive significantly less funding from male-led ventures is because of bias. Most venture capitalists are men, and because of approachability and commonalities, they find it easier to invest in other men.
The simple way to rectify this issue is by encouraging women to position themselves on the funding side of the equation.
However, to increase the number of female investors, those women must mentor the next generation. By increasing the visibility of women in leadership positions, other women can be inspired to take bold steps toward sustaining meaningful change within the private and public sectors.
The advice and support that mentors provide budding entrepreneurs is invaluable.
Although more women are embracing entrepreneurship, they often face challenges not typically shared by their male counterparts. To shed light on some of these disparities, some female Business owners spoke about the key challenges women entrepreneurs face and how to overcome them. –
Defying social expectations:
Most female business owners who have attended networking events can relate to this scenario: You walk into a crowded seminar and can count the number of women there on one hand. When women entrepreneurs talk business with primarily male executives, it can be unnerving. In this sort of situation, women may feel as though they need to adopt a stereo typically “male” attitude toward business: competitive, aggressive and sometimes overly harsh. But successful female CEOs believe that remaining true to yourself and finding your own voice are the keys to rising above preconceived expectations. We advice you “Be yourself, and have confidence in who you are”. “You made it to where you are through hard work and perseverance, but most importantly, you’re there. Don’t conform yourself to a man’s idea of what a leader should look like.” Some women also may worry about coming off as too aggressive.
Limited access to funding:
Not all startup founders look
for investors to help get their businesses off the ground, but those who do know how difficult the pitching process can be. Raising capital is even more difficult for women-owned firms.
- Playing with the boys:
Most would consider any given field to be male-dominated. It’s even more of a challenge when you’re coming in as a female having to give direction to males that may not want any direction. As a female entrepreneur in a male-dominated industry, earning respect would be a struggle.
- Owning your accomplishments:
The communal, consensus-building qualities encouraged in young girls can leave women unintentionally downplaying their own worth. You find that when women talk about their company … they always find themself saying ‘we’ instead of ‘I’. They probably have fallen into this pattern for two reasons: Using the first person to discuss successes feels as if they are bragging, and cannot shake the idea that if someone knows it’s just them in control, the value of what they do will go down.
- Building a support network:
Forty-eight percent of female founders report that a lack of available advisers and mentors limits their professional growth. With the majority of the high-level business world still being dominated by men, it can be hard to blaze your own path and facilitate the introductions and connections into some of the more elite business networks.
6. Balancing business and family life:
Work-life balance is a goal of many entrepreneurs regardless of their gender, but mothers who start businesses have to simultaneously run their families and their companies. And in this area, traditional gender expectations often still prevail. Being a mother while running a business is very challenging. There are ways to balance your time, but the perception is that you could be more effective running your business if you didn’t have to deal with kids. You should learn not to take shortcomings on either front too seriously, and to not beat yourself up over the little things, such as missing a class trip with your children. “Mompreneurs” have dual responsibilities to their businesses and to their families, and finding ways to devote time to both is key to truly achieving that elusive work-life balance.
- Coping with a fear of failure:
The fear of failure is the top concern of women who launch startups. Failure is a very real possibility in any business venture. You need to have massive failure to have massive success. You may need 100 ‘noes’ to get one ‘yes,’ but that one ‘yes’ will make you more successful tomorrow than you were today.
We all have a responsibility to support female entrepreneurs — whether it’s through advocating for gender equality in the workplace, or using our own purchasing power to support female-owned businesses. What is beneficial to female entrepreneurs is beneficial to the global economy.
As Margaret Thatcher once said, “If you want anything said, ask a man; if you want anything done, ask a woman.”
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