The number of women entrepreneurs is growing. In the UK, there’s been a 45% increase in women starting their own businesses since 2006. Despite this, however, men are more likely to set up on their own, and more likely to believe they’ll make it big.
Research shows that female entrepreneurs are less likely to believe in their abilities. They’re also more likely to face challenges their male counterparts don’t, famously women are told they can’t have it all. But men are not faced with the same choices? Unfortunately, these challenges show that, while there are more women in leadership roles, equity is yet to be achieved.
Flexibility is critical for many women starting their own business. As the majority of caring responsibilities fall on women, this is especially true for working mothers needing a work/life balance, the government has also found that women tend to take jobs closer to home, even if they may not be fulfilling their full earning potential. Perhaps working for yourself can be the answer to this? In the short term my experience is that overwhelming amounts of work are needed but proper organisation could lead to a more flexible and viable working environment, building a business that works for them.
In the past, women felt they had to adopt ‘typical’ male behaviors to be taken seriously, society has changed somewhat, or perhaps what we would consider male traits have changes such as ambition and drive in the workplace rather than contentment at home, Today, female entrepreneurs show that you can have it all creating a balanced life such as such as Michelle Mone, I have never felt that I couldn’t have everything but I believe this comes from the parents insisting the most important is my happiness. All women can succeed on their own terms by being themselves, acting as role models, some women can be trapped between what men want them to be, what society wants them to be and who they are.
Seeing other women succeed creates a sense of empowerment amongst female entrepreneurs, giving them the determination to succeed. Learning from other women is vital here, supporting other women. Even when they choose a different path to you, some feminist have hair armpits and dismay at sexualisation of women, others Sherrie Lacey, for example, has a blog and books on leadership. Attending events and building networks of women who support each other is also essential. There’s nothing more powerful or more likely to help build confidence than having one woman tell another she can succeed.