It’s 2019, and yet, it often feels as if we’re still stuck several decades in the past in terms of equal business opportunities for all.
Why? Simply put, the modern business landscape may have shown some major signs of progress in recent years, but we can still pinpoint quite a few significant issues female entrepreneurs face when they decide to embark on this wonderful journey.
With more women doing their best to join the business ranks, these issues are becoming more prominent by the day, but we are also closer to resolving them the more we raise awareness and help change the current global mindset when it comes to empowering ladies to realize their professional dreams.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the 21st century’s most notable issues faced by women in the business realm, in particular when trying to start their own business venture.
Access to proper funding options
Few solopreneurs can afford to entirely abandon their nine-to-five careers or other earning methods in order to devote their time to starting their own companies.
From a financial perspective, that would mean foregoing a stable source of income which can help fund their idea, but women come across a very specific issue in this realm: for some reason, women get significantly less funding opportunities than their male counterparts. As little as 7% of venture capital goes to female-led businesses.
With such disheartening figures to tackle, it’s no wonder so many women decide to completely give up on their entrepreneurial ideas. If they have no access to the capital needed to start and run their business until it comes fully solvent, it’s no wonder few of them persevere. However, more companies, especially female-led ones, are starting to provide greater funding support for ambitious ladies.
The freedom to balance work and life
From inception to realization and maintenance, running a business, no matter if it’s a startup or a franchise under a renowned brand name takes plenty of expertise, skill, and above all — time. Women who already have a family, especially if they are single moms, instantly have reduced chances of embarking on such an adventure, simply because few business ideas come with a high level of flexibility that women require to succeed.
Our business landscape needs more business ideas for women that provide more flexibility in terms of time management, delegation of responsibilities, and internal structure support.
This is precisely why so many women turn to running a franchise as their own business in order to harness the power of an established brand together with in-house training and flexibility that comes with the territory — an excellent solution, although we should also find ways to make startups more appealing and manageable for the lady portion of the visionary world.
Image issues that persist
No matter how advanced a civilization we have become, there are still certain constraints and limitations imposed on women who would like to try their hand at entrepreneurship. In certain regions of the world, the idea of a woman owning and running her business without a male counterpart defies everything the local society stands for, whether hindered by religious beliefs or societal norms. In any case, the situation is not equally fertile for female entrepreneurs across the globe.
Even in certain well-developed societies with no religious restrictions, women leaders still struggle with the male-dominated business landscape, where the notion of leadership is associated with “male” attributes such as aggression or high levels of competitiveness. It takes time to change such preconceptions, and even more so to help women stay true to their own personalities and values, let alone empower them to kick-start their ideas in regions where religion and norms still prevent such progress.
The need for education
We can all agree that in order to run a business, some level of education is needed to be competitive. It doesn’t have to be a Harvard degree, but some amount of skill and knowledge is necessary to start a business that has a fair chance at success. Unfortunately, we still live in a world where education is not available equally to all, and especially to girls in certain parts of the globe.
As an example, 78% of the poorest females in Niger have not been properly educated, which means that from the earliest stages of their lives, these girls are deprived of an opportunity to master the skills necessary for them to improve their financial standing in the future. In addition to overwhelming poverty, the risk of sexual harassment, unwanted pregnancy, and early marriage also affect many girls’ chances of going to school.
Lack of support
More often than not, women will want to combine personal with professional success by starting a family as they enter entrepreneurial waters, or before they start running a business. The lack of funding is not the only manner in which women are deprived of support they need to achieve their professional goals, but even on a more personal level, many women will point out that their environment is not really supportive of their ideas.
Whether it’s limited access to mentors and other educators, childcare, and other benefits, women are still struggling to create an environment in which it’s possible to balance their business goals with their personal aspirations.
Although some of these issues are already showing signs of progress in certain parts of the world, we still have a long way to go before we can claim that the entrepreneurial landscape provides equal chances for women and men alike. Let us hope that 2019 will bring more of these positive changes and that more women will enter the business ranks successfully to change the numbers in favor of equality.