According to the annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, in 2019, American women started an average of 1,817 new businesses per day. These businesses represent 42% of all American businesses—nearly 13 million—employing 9.4 million workers and generating revenues of $1.9 trillion. Which sounds great, right? But there is bad news too.
As Morra Aarons-Mele stated in her Harvard Business Review article, “women-owned businesses are disproportionately in industries where the median receipts are less than $225,000 (and businesses with receipts less than $100,000 are more likely to fail).”
Women also tend to start their own companies out of necessity, not because they want to “change the world.” Most try to escape long hours in the office, inability to combine office work with taking care of kids and a household, etc. However, switching to solopreneurship or running a small business cannot replace the salary they were earning in the corporate world, Aarons-Mele writes.
In the corporate sector, the stats are similar. More women are becoming senior leaders now than ever before. In 2019, 29% of senior management roles were held by women. But over 70% of these still go to men.
This tells us that, yes, we’ve indeed come a long way so far. But we need to push a bit harder. Our job isn’t done here yet. We need more women in managerial positions and we need more women entrepreneurs now! And who must bring this change to the table? It’s our job, women.
The Leader of Today is: Empowered
“The Future Is Female” is canceled. It implies that within some distant time, the world will become more comfortable for women. More opportunities? More equality? Less judgment? Fewer expectations? So we take it as it is, sit down, and wait. Really? What are we doing, ladies?
The present is female. Literally. In the U.S., women hold the majority of jobs for the first time in almost a decade. So why are we waiting for the future to come?
Women are stereotypically seen as caregivers. Well, that’s okay, but put yourself first on that list. Take care of yourself first.
Doing this doesn’t just mean going to a salon more often. It also means fulfilling your ambitions, plans, and dreams. How many of us women tend to diminish our strengths and passions just because we don’t have enough role models to follow, mental support, access to funds and network that our male counterparts have? We say “Oh, I’d love to start a business. But I don’t have enough money/knowledge/connections,” you name it. Take a chance and try on your own then. Take small steps, invest small amounts, read up online tutorials or books. But do take these crucially important small steps.
According to Clare Josa, author of Ditching Imposter Syndrome and a leadership consultant, men are more likely to push through the imposter syndrome while women tend to give in to their self-doubt. As women, we are our own enemies in terms of limiting our powers and ambitions. But if we start to believe in the contrary, it can change so much!
Women must act now in order to take an equal share in the business world. No postponing. And please don’t take it negatively. “So now I have to give birth, clean the house, AND run a company?” Take it as the SUPER POWER that will give you so many more opportunities. Don’t do it if it’s something you are not interested in. But if you’re not doing it because of self-doubt, you’re killing your future. Embrace your ability to succeed and hustle for it.
The Leader of Today is: Feminist
Bring the change you want to see for other women. We have nobody else to rely on here, except ourselves. Our workplaces will not change until we voice the needed change and initiate it.
Even those men who do support the feminist movement will never have a clue what working women face every day to be able to guarantee the same productivity levels as their male colleagues in a modern workplace.
Women now can go to work and build their careers. And the majority of a progressive society is ok with it. But far fewer people are ready to exclude women from the role of caregivers and household keepers that we’ve been occupying for ages. So now women have to do it all. And God forbid fail at it. We only have the right to excel. Imagine the pressure? It’s like the society tells us, “Go vote! Go to college! Go to work! But come back to feed the kids and the husband. Oh, and do the laundry because it remains your responsibility, remember?”
While male leaders do need to be held accountable, it’s female leaders who should push the change forward because they know what’s up.
What do you, as a woman, want your current workplace or business to be like?
Do you want a more flexible schedule to keep up with your family needs throughout the week? Do you want a kids’ room to bring kids to the office when you can’t leave them at home alone? What do you need as a woman so that business and work becomes a comfortable part of your life, not the part that makes you hate it? Are you doing anything to change it apart from quitting?
If you appear to know about the pay difference between men and women occupying the same positions in your company, push the request for equal pay to your management. If you’re a manager yourself, make sure you start the conversation with the board about the need for equal pay. If you’re an HR manager, make sure that your office has not only the ping pong table for the guys but the makeup corner too or some room where feeding women can pump milk or even massage their feet after running in heels all day.
Equality starts on a basic level. Push it from the ground up whatever your role is. Don’t be discouraged by not being in a C-level position. Change starts where you’re at. Think about what you can do with what you have.
The kind of leader we need today is an empowered feminist female because only such a woman is not afraid to take what’s hers and pave the way for others.