Today is International Women’s Day 2016 (08/03/16), It great to see so many people supporting a day where you can be proud to be a woman achieving something in life regardless of that achievement. Im not going to ramble about womens rights or anything like that, I want to talk about women in business – Whats it like? Are there still gender gaps in 2016?
As a woman in business myself i know just how difficult it can really be to fight through what still seems a highly male populated industry, I have been the director of a successful design agency for a few years now, after setting up in business i quickly began to realise that not everyone in business has adjusted to women running companies or see you as an equal.
I genuinely thought this was a dark age practice back when women didn’t even have the right to vote, but it was definitely apparent in the 21st century.
I am a full time mum and a passionate business owner who now has come to realise that i am a strong woman who can stand up and be proud to be in business, I do not believe any woman should have a fear of competing in the business world – if you are passionate about what you are good at or what you do, then run with it – let no one of any gender stand in your way!
BITC have completed a survey detailing Women and Work: The Facts, I think there is so many valuable points they have pulled out of that report that makes being a women in business worth all the hassle, i have pulled out a few segments that i feel are worthwhile statements to be considered for all women in business.
- Companies across all sectors with the most women on their boards of directors significantly and consistently outperform those with no female representation – by 41% in terms of return on equity and by 56% in terms of operating result – Read more
- Leeds University Business School reports that having at least one female director on the board appears to cut a company’s chances of going bust by about 20%. Having two or three female directors lowers the risk even more – Read more
- Women make up 47% of the UK workforce
- 63.6% of girls achieve 5 or more GCSEs at grade A* to C or equivalent, including English and mathematics, GCSEs compared to 54.2% of boys – Read More
- 57% is the proportion of first degree graduates that are women – Read More
- 1 in 3 female graduates has a degree in health related studies or education, compared with only 1 in 11 male graduates – Read More
- If women set up businesses at the same rate as men, there would be an extra 150,000 start-ups in the UK each year – Read More
- 17.3% of FTSE 100 directorships and 13.2% of FTSE 250 directorships are held by women – Read More
- There are 2.11 million men and 5.85 million women in part-time employment – Read More
- 38% is the proportion of employed women with dependent children (aged 18 and under) – Read More
- 91% of fathers took time off after the birth but only 29% of fathers took more than two weeks – Read More
- 5.8% for a child aged under two and 3.9% for a child over two, is by how much the price of nursery care increased by between 2010 and 2011, whilst median weekly wages for all employees remained unchanged – Read More
Women in business can be a really force to be reckoned with, with the UK being the 2nd best european country for female entrepreneurs, the UK also has the 4th lowest rate of female business closures, and the fear of failure was the second lowest in europe (FSB Voice March 2016). Even with the UK government stating that Women entrepreneurs are an Untapped talent in a report published last year , they go on to say how women in business could play a bigger role in the UK economy, creating jobs and boosting growth, helping to reduce gender inequality.
These statements bring a realisation to the power women can have within business and the effect they can put in place not just around them but further afield, There has been many studies into who and why people set up in business many of those both male and female, but there is a distinct gap in women setting up in business with only 1 in 5 of new startups being women, a report produced for the government outlining what support is in place for women wanting to set up in business – i doubt many of you will even know some of this support is available, we were lucky, we were able to access the women and broadband challenge, which i’m pleased to say was a great experience being able to meet other like minded women in business.
The report gives an in depth view of what they portray a woman in business would bring to the table; such skills as;
- strong listening skills
- greater empathy and patience
- willingness to understand the perspectives of others when making decisions
- a longer term view promoting sustainability and talent development
- better understanding of diverse customers
On the whole i do agree with many of the statements made by the government reports as to how women run their businesses, i think we can see things differently to our male counterparts, the end goal is often the same just the journey can be different. We often have different life balances to men, we work differently to them in ways they are yet to understand – there are times of the month for us where we might struggle more than others, more on edge, but we still have to work through it – if we choose to have families regardless situation we have 9 months of juggling more than most.
To be a woman running a business and being heavily pregnant it can be quite a task from not fitting in anything suitable for that business meeting, to morning sickness all day, to the weight you have to carry round to still get the job done. Unfortunately for most women in business who choose to have families at the same time – the juggling just continues and you are expected to be everywhere and do everything to just compete. I consider myself lucky i’m a mumpreneur, i love running a business i enjoy and having my family here too.
I think for a women in business there is so many barrier i would like to see broken down, from support and stigma right though to support, funding a child care. I do believe that the government is starting to realise the potential for women to run enterprises throughout the UK and especially within rural areas where access to flexible working is more limited, change is coming – at a slow pace but it is coming.
So to conclude – to all those men who have looked down upon me as a woman in business, good luck to you with your business but behind so many of those successful companies you like to choose to work with there are many women helping them to be successful you just don’t realise it- think about that from your high horse as you look down on me ( by all means speak to my husband who is standing next to me and is also a director, like i don’t exist but he believes is me and stands by me not in front – We are in this together as equals much to your dislike) We choose who we do business with!
To all the women everywhere – whatever your circumstances, whatever your choices don’t let anyone male or female put you down, you can achieve just as much as others if not more when you put your mind to it. you can have a family and run a business you just have to learn to juggle a little more than you do already. Do it! it will be the best decision you will make.
If you want help in setting up in business or you are looking to grow your current business get in touch we can help!