Business isn’t a piece of cake especially if you are a woman intending to secure a position for yourself in the male-dominated world. Just like all other aspects of life, entrepreneurship and businesses are too built on a patriarchal foundation; but do not let the same very idea tone down your determination. A recent data survey in 2020 reveals that even though women are surfacing their own paths to claim their share in a field that is entirely male-dominated, the challenges and barriers for women in business are plenty in number. Obstacles such as very limited funding, lack of government support, gender biases have injected the mindset that entrepreneurship is not meant for women. The good news is that the number of startups that have been established by women in the last decade has shown a steady rise which means out of every 10 startups, 4 are owned by female entrepreneurs.
Common Challenges and Barriers for Women in Business
Despite your entrepreneurial plunge, you are still going to face challenges that would make it difficult for you to continue on your entrepreneurial journey. The goal however is to keep moving forward.
Even though women have come a long way, gender discrimination still seems to hold them back from pursuing their dreams. A survey report reveals, 41% of the women entrepreneurs have faced discrimination based on gender with men having the upper hand. Many women entrepreneurs have also complained that their gender hindered them from showcasing their talent to potential vendors and clients as they are always looked down upon as incompetent and undeserving.
In an interview, Carol Koffinke, the CEO and president of Beacon Associates shares an instance where she had a hard time lining up her relationship with her vendors. “I was asked to make payments in cash and upfront while another business colleague of mine who happened to be a ‘MAN’ was never asked to make upfront payments,” she adds explaining her disappointment at the way society treats women with dreams and passion. However, every woman entrepreneur is still looking forward to working in a gender stereotype-free world where they do not have to get themselves compared to men.
2. Lack of Support
A total of about 48% of women entrepreneurs quit entrepreneurship because of their inability to find competent advisors to guide them through the odds of startups. The structure of a startup is such that even the most experienced people demand mentorship to be able to implement the right ideas. Even the government, despite its set-aside schemes that are meant particularly for empowering women, is super biased.
Also Read: Barrier Faced By Women In A Male-Dominated Society
3. Societal Pressure
Even though household dynamics are changing, the society with its patriarchal values still expects women to stay back and look after the house. Women in business are often bogged under the pressure to perform the household chores like “they are supposed to do”. While some women conveniently maintain a steady work-life balance, others find it equally burdening and overwhelming.
Tips to Overcome Women's Challenges in Business
Business in no way is going to be a smooth ride. You need to understand properly what it is that you are signing up for. Barriers for women are always going to be there irrespective of how progressive the world gets. Overcoming the challenges for women in business can however ensure success in the long run.
1. Thinking like a businesswoman
There is no room for emotions in business. Getting influenced by emotions, going soft on people would actually cost your job. As a businesswoman, you should be able to make decisions for and on behalf of the firm. Facing bitter obstacles with ease and gearing up for every upcoming challenge is what makes an ideal businesswoman.
2. Provide support to other women in business
Developing a support system wherein every woman supports every other woman fosters growth besides providing a motivational boost. It is okay to understand that failure does not necessarily have to be the opposite of success. Preaching and learning should go hand in hand.
3. Building position in the market
Get your business to position itself in the market and nurture it carefully. Being a woman, countering professional challenges is only natural. Your mindset and thought process might clash with your male counterparts. Pay more attention to communicating properly if you have to build credibility. There should be absolutely no scope for mistakes. In other words, you need to ensure that everything about your business is perfect.
4. Delegate tasks as and when required
Be a smart worker and not a hard worker. As a businesswoman, you should be able to distinguish between tasks that need your immediate attention and tasks that could be simply delegated amongst your employees. This way you will have achieved maximum goals in a minimum period.
5. Overcome gender biases
If you are a woman who is subject to discrimination based on your gender, then do not let that make you feel demotivated. Be persistent in your efforts. Even though we might be operating in patriarchal economies, the only way through which you can make it to the end is by transforming your disadvantages into your advantages.
Also read: Sexual Harassment At Workplace
6. Consider obtaining funds from different sources
Applying for grants from national and state governments can always look like a viable option. The world of the internet can also introduce you to more sources that are not well known or recognized by the public yet. Do not stop dreaming just so that you can fit in. Your goal should not be to just fit in. It should be to stand out. The power that women entrepreneurs hold is intriguing and challenging. It just hasn’t been realized to its full potential yet due to the preconceived mindset that people are injected with.
Challenges and barriers for women in business should not keep them away from wanting to be the ones in control. Almost every country is moving closer to bridging the gap that seems to exist between male and female entrepreneurs. If you are a woman wanting to start your entrepreneurial journey today, this is your sign. You are allowed to have dreams irrespective of your gender. Let no society tell you what is expected of you. Change begins with you, from you. It's time that you spread your wings and fly far away to the world you have always dreamt of.