Female entrepreneurs are increasing at a surprisingly fast rate. There are more than 9 million employees working in corporations and businesses owned by women in the US alone. In 2017 organizations owned by women in the US generated $1.7 trillion in sales. There is no doubt that more and more women are now beginning to start their own businesses instead of working for an employer. There have always been certain professions which have been more preferable for women than men. These include nurses, physicians, teachers, fitness instructors and air hostesses, but starting your own business can be much more financially rewarding and liberating. However, it isn’t easy for women to step into the corporate world without facing hindrances.
5 Challenges Faced by Female Entrepreneurs
1. Managing Family and Business Time
It is generally perceived that if given the choice, women would choose spending time with their family rather than spending time at work. Gender bias at work plays a critical role in determining which employee will be promoted from a group of employees. Managing the responsibilities of a family is quite like managing an organization. In an organization, there are workers and supervisors and in a family, there are several family members. It is quite challenging for women to juggle official duties with the demands of a family. Returning to work from maternity leave is still a very contentious issue. A number of women decide not to pursue their career after childbirth.
2. Lack of Financial Assets & Resources
Starting any new business requires capital and investment. Businessmen or women do not always have the sum capital or investment required to initiate the business. In most cases, prospective investors will need to procure a loan to begin their own establishment. It has been observed that organizations and financial institutions are more keen on administering loans and funds to men rather than women. Both the man and the woman could be applying for a loan to the same organization. The man’s application will be processed while the woman’s application may require more assurances. It is advisable that women organize a business plan and work out all the necessary complications before applying for a loan.
3. Lack of Support from Other Entrepreneurs
Being a businesswoman has its own advantages. For one thing, you don’t have to worry if your personal statement will get the attention of prospective employers. But there is a downside. There are very few ladies who businesswomen can call colleagues or even rivals for that matter. Step into a conference or a meeting and you can count on one hand the total number of women attending that symposium. Each time a businesswoman meets a counterpart who could be of a viable commercial benefit, the man might have something else on his mind. As is the case with a meeting of the opposite sexes, there will be disputes and confrontations.
4. Facing Male Dominated Mindsets & Biases
There are some fields which have been traditionally dominated by men. Living in the modern world today such specializations still exist where men comprehensively dominate women. For example, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are just some of the male-dominated lines of work. Women entering the field of construction will face constant criticism and confrontations daily regardless of the location of her work. Another complication which will intensify the situation is that perspectives and viewpoints will favor the male members of society even if he is wrong. Women need to be even more resolute if they want to be successful in such conditions.
5. Being Attributed as a Corporate Success
Even if women are successful in becoming an industrialist, by no means are their worries over. Women entrepreneurs still have to deal with the negative attitudes which have been etched into society’s mindsets over time. Society still believes that leadership roles should go to men within an organization. Over time, successful women will have to face employees who are not ready to surrender to the supervision of higher ranking women. Crossing borders can mean even more heightened beliefs and perspectives. Doing business with an international company, it is not unlikely for an overseas businessman to ask to speak to the male in charge of the business.
Even though women-led businesses are becoming more common, there are still setbacks and challenges faced by female entrepreneurs in corporate America and beyond.