How Women Can Shape The Future Of Business
Why We Need More Women in Business
“A glowing woman can help other women glow and still be lit” – Christy Cole
The business landscape is changing. With changes in tradition, technological advancements and the way we communicate, the business world is rapidly evolving. This shift has been especially apparent in the last few decades, as more and more women have increasingly entered the workforce.
And while we have made great strides in terms of equality, there’s still a long way to go. Women are better educated and more active in the labour force than ever, and are increasingly working in leadership roles. Yet, studies show that women in business and leadership are still a minority and are outpaced by men in across every industry, including corporate, nonprofit, government, education, medicine, military and religion.
The need for more female leaders has never been more critical, especially as we face some of the most pressing challenges of our time. Here we explore the challenges faced by women in business and the benefits of having more women in leadership positions.
The Challenges Faced By Women in Business
There is no one answer to the question of why there are so few women in business and leadership roles. Instead, it’s a complex combination of factors that make it difficult for women to achieve parity with men. These include:
One of the most significant challenges faced by women in business is hidden bias. This is the unconscious prejudice that we all carry with us, often without realizing it.
Studies have shown that both men and women display bias against women in the workplace. Many women in leadership roles struggle to gain the respect of their peers and colleagues as a result of the double-bind stereotype: A woman with a more aggressive leadership approach is often labelled as “intimidating”, while a soft approach is labelled “weak”.
Another obstacle many women face, whether they are in leadership roles or not is the increased expectation of time demands. In our busy society, the lines between work and home are increasingly blurred.
For many, women are still considered primary givers in families yet are still expected to maintain their responsibilities at work. This can lead to feelings of guilt, anxiety and stress, as well as difficulty in achieving a work-life balance.
The “Glass Ceiling”
The “glass ceiling” is another significant challenge that women face in business. This term refers to the artificial barrier that limits women’s advancement in the workplace. Despite all the progress that has been made, women are still being held back from achieving their full potential in business.
Limited Access to Finance
Another huge challenge faced by women in business is the lack of access to finance. Many women are less likely to have access to the same level of financial resources as men.
Women entrepreneurs typically ask for less financing than men do, and receive loans at lower levels with higher interest rates. This lack of access to capital can be a major barrier for women looking to start or grow their businesses.
Lack Of Mentorship
Mentorship has been proven to be one of the key factors in success for both men and women in business. Yet, women are less likely than men to have access to mentors. This lack of mentorship can limit women’s ability to develop their skills in both their career and personal lives. Having access to female mentors can be especially important for young women just starting out in their careers.
The Need For Greater Female Representation
Today, the business workplace requires leaders with diverse skill sets, backgrounds and perspectives. Having a more diverse leadership team can improve innovation, creativity and bottom-line results
Despite the many challenges faced by women in business, there are a number of significant benefits to having more female leaders. These include:
Diverse experiences and viewpoints play a significant role in fostering innovation. Varies perspectives lead to better decision making. When women become leaders they bring talents, new views, alongside structural and cultural diversity which offer a different perspective and help to create an environment that is more open to new ideas
Leadership styles that are more inclusive tend to be more effective. Inclusive leaders take into account the needs of all employees, not just those in senior positions. This style of leadership results in increased employee engagement and better team performance
A key aspect of leadership is the ability to help team members develop their own skills and strengths. Women make stronger mentors than men as they have experiences and overcome challenges that men have not faced. They can use their experiences to empower and inspire other women in the workplace
A New Approach to Leadership
The challenges faced by women in business are many and varied. But, despite these challenges, there are a number of significant advantages to having more female leaders. Companies with more gender-diverse leadership teams tend to outperform those without.
We need to see a change in the way we think about leadership. In order for true gender equality to be achieved in business, we need to see a shift in the corporate culture. By having female mentorships and working to develop and grow women in leadership roles, we can create workplaces that are more open, innovative and successful.
Ruffle Mentoring is a growing online platform that is dedicated to connecting women with successful mentors in order to help them achieve their goals. We believe that by providing women with access to successful female mentors, we can help to empower the next generation of leaders. If you’re a woman looking for a mentor, you can find a mentor here today!