The world of business used to be widely male-oriented. People in positions of power were often men, and so the sector came to be known – and accepted – as a “man’s world”. This notion effectively discredited all the hard-working women in business, and put the men in the front line. While it is important to pay tribute to the men that have made so many business industries and innovations possible, it is also important to pay tribute to the countless women that have made leaps and bounds in their industries, only to be pushed to the side when the next male in power made an announcement. It sounds like a feminist rant, and perhaps to some level it is. But more importantly – more realistically – it is quite simply a call for gender equality in the workplace. Women should feel empowered to bring their ideas to fruition, to pitch their passions and build their empires. Unfortunately, what many women are dealing with currently is a gap in business. Surprisingly, it is not the pay gap (this is undeniably a consistent issue and one not to be brushed to the side), but the gender idealism gap. As of 2017, more than 9.1 million businesses in America alone are owned by women. The gap is closing – but there is still work to be done.
Both men and women have made sacrifices for their careers…putting off having a family, choosing their careers over relationships with people that could not grow as they did, some even packing their lives into boxes and moving interstate for a job with a promising company. The fundamental difference between men and women going through these same motions for their chosen careers is that, often, men are celebrated for their bravery to uproot everything (literally, everything) to build an empire, to become the ultimate entrepreneur. Women, on the other hand, are sometimes labelled as “career-obsessed” and “prioritising success above more important things”. The positive notions used to describe men in positions of power in business are turned on their heads and made into negative connotations for women – the irony being that women entrepreneurs need more support in the business sector to find their feet and forge a successful empire.
Many female tycoons in business have given advice for upcoming women entrepreneurs hoping to make it big in business. To create a thriving, long-lasting business, there are the standard and obvious concepts. Supporting the community around the brand, as well as giving the brand a cause or mission that matters to the entrepreneur driving the project (and will speak to the consumers) provides businesses with a backbone that shows their commitment to not only their brand, but their community – in this way, they solidify their stance as a trustworthy business for consumers to support. But more than sage advice from females that have made big in business, comes the reality that women are facing gaps in the sector. What may come as a surprise is that the biggest hurdle for women entrepreneurs trying to make a name and an empire for themselves is not the pay gap, but a gender gap of sorts. Investors and business moguls looking for opportunities and ROI, unfortunately (and insultingly) do not invest in start-up projects that are the fruits of women’s labour, simply because they find them to be “unworthy” or “miscalculated”. The same goes for women looking to scale up their businesses.
Unfortunately, a common theme that is still making the rounds (yes, even in the twenty-first century) is that male businessmen and investors are making unfounded excuses not to hire women into positions of power. This approach is not only backwards, but frankly it is insulting to the hundreds of women that are working exponentially hard to forge their own path and to create their brand. Not to mention the decision not to back entirely worthwhile projects can damage the male investor’s businesses and reputations…because this is the twenty-first century, and bigotry is outdated. Businesses and recruiters must be more creative, more accepting, and more persistent when looking for diverse talents, particularly when female talent in business is currently producing greater numbers than ever. Women in business should not attempt to make exact copies of the networks that male entrepreneurs forge, but instead recreate them and put a spin on them that sets them apart not only from the men and proves their worth in the field, but from the competition as well – regardless of if that competition is men, women, or both.
As the business universe continues to barrel onward, so does the question of women in power. Female entrepreneurs are faced with continuous battles and discrimination in the sector, and while small changes are paving the foundation for future rebuilding of the business world entirely, there is still so much work to be done. Women need to jump hurdles where men must simply take a step over a crack in the sidewalk…and this unfair disconnect between sufficient leaders in business must come to an end. With increasing awareness around the gender gap – and all the ways that we can begin to close it – action is finally being taken…but as with all great steps, there must be hard questions answered and solutions found if any taken steps are to mean anything, to make any difference that will remain steadfast as the business world evolves and expands.
It is also worth noting that the internet has given women better opportunities, allowing the fairer sex to amass millions of youtube subscribers or instagram followers through their talents and accomplishments.