Although it’s still there, the gap between male and female entrepreneurs is slowly but surely closing. And not only are women starting businesses, but they are also leading and funding them as well. General Motors, IBM, and Mondelez International are some of the many businesses that have appointed female CEOs. as a matter of fact, a lot more women are running Fortune 500 businesses these days than they have ever in the 63-year history of the Fortune 500. As you can see, women are showing a lot of progress and promise in business statistics.
However, that is still only 6.4 of those major companies when it is put into context. And given the recent high profile stories about gender pay gap as well as female entrepreneurs citing an imaginary male co-founder for credibility, it’s clear as day that women inequality is still a huge business problem.
We have scoured the Internet and have gathered personal stories from some of the most high-profile businesswomen around about how they fight gender stereotypes and advocate for women’s rights at workplaces. By reading on you will soon discover the challenges, advantages, and opportunities that women present for businesses in 2019 and beyond.
Challenges That Women in Business Face
Still Underappreciated in Key Areas
Although various industries are showing a growing trend in the female workforce, sectors such as tech and financial engineering are still largely male-dominant. In STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) industries overall, women amount to only 24% of the workforce in the United States and less than 15% in the United Kingdom.
This under-appreciation could be due to the persistent stereotypical belief that having an interest in “hard science” is unfeminine. But knowing that STEM occupations are said to be among the fastest-growing and best pay fields around, it is pivotal for women to feel empowered so that they can also gain the skills and opt for opportunities in science, tech, and other related fields.
Marsha Lazareva, a US-Russian businesswoman who was imprisoned in Kuwait from 2017, just got bailed for over $40 million. Although she worked hard to earn her freedom, she and her five-year-old son are still unable to leave Kuwait despite the false charges that were unfairly attached to her. You can visit houstonchronicle.com to catch up on the whole story.
Access to Startup Capital
Whether it’s a venture capital round or a traditional bank loan, women are at a great disadvantage when it comes to acquiring funds to begin a business. In spite of the fact that they own over 30% of small businesses, the women are only securing 4.4% of the total dollars in small business loans, 17% of SBA-backed loans and 16% on conventional loans.
And by the time a woman is approved, her loans are smaller than those approved for men. And on the venture-capital side, businesses owned by women get only 7% of total venture fund investments.
Gender Bias in the Workforce
Although most executives are in agreement that only the best person – regardless of gender – should get the job, there are stories of women finding more success with either a male or gender-neutral name on their CV, thereby showing that unconscious bias still exists.
Even if some of them hold power or wish to position themselves in leadership roles, women often feel that they come under particular scrutiny. Men are usually encouraged to be assertive or ambitious, women are told from a very young age should not be “bossy”.
But despite the disadvantage is that some women face at work nowadays, there are various advantages that they bring in the workplace as well.
Advantages of Women at Workplaces
As we’ve seen over so many years, an increased number of women at workplaces has not only brought about so many positive changes but it also helps companies look into the problems of employees more carefully.
As such, these positive changes allow employers to address those unique problems such as helping workers balance professional and family life.
Effective Communication for Collaborative Work Effort
Experts say that women are great communicators as they respond more effectively to verbal, visual, and emotional factors than men. The women are blessed with strong communication and networking skills with which they can encourage any collaborative or group work efforts.
Diversity And Multidimensional Interest at the Workplace
Women introduce diverse as well as multidimensional interests at workplaces. Whereas men after work, prefer to play pool or smoke a cigar with their friends when it comes to socialization.
Women prefer to diversify things from painting, playing instruments, watching sports, cooking as well as playing pool or smoking cigars with the same level of enthusiasm as their male peers.