It’s been a long time coming but I think we can finally admit, with confidence, that female entrepreneurship is on the rise. And not a moment too soon.
Ownership, management and control are powerful concepts, but for many women, ones just out of reach.
So, what’s changed?
While there have always been entrepreneurial women in the world – me included – more women than ever are now forging a way forward for themselves beyond traditional business models and in-house titles. And the trend seems to transcend age, race and experience.
One explanation is the current ‘Shecession’ the world is navigating. Women’s under-employment is higher than men, and for many this has been a catalyst to take the plunge and go into business for themselves, on their own terms. Adversity is propelling so many new entrepreneurs forward in exciting ways they never thought possible.
With everyone in survival mode during the pandemic, big business seems to have misplaced that important memo about supporting and encouraging women to stay in the workforce during this difficult time. And they definitely didn’t read the part about retention and moving existing talent up the managerial hierarchy.
That said, attitudes are shifting. Slowly. During recent uncertain times, we’ve come to appreciate just how significant feminine leadership attributes can be in making important decisions. EQ has never been more important, with attributes like collaboration and empathy essential to any CEO’s armoury.
We still have a way to go. Females are 45% more likely to be fired than males in CEO positions – even when business is doing well – and of course there remains a major gender gap in individual salaries paid. But with 87% of global businesses now with at least one woman in a senior management position (an incredible increase of 20% points over the past five years) I’m feeling somewhat positive for the sisterhood.
Recently, I was approached by an international agency affiliate asking some promising, positive questions around female entrepreneurship in my business. They wanted to know if the CEO was a woman. They were excited by the idea that our key business decisions around finance, operations, personnel and strategy were all being made and implemented by women.
While not ground-breaking, enquiries like this are a huge leap forward and a sign of change. I for one am excited for the future of women in business – and more importantly, women in business for themselves.