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Why Is It Such A Big Deal to Be A Female Entrepreneur?

by Bani Banerjee
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Why is it such a big deal to be a Female Entrepreneur | Womopreneur

Let’s talk about Female Entrepreneurs. Ah! Don’t raise your eyebrows just now?

In recent times, it’s not uncommon to hear stories of startups being led to phenomenal success by female entrepreneurs. As it sounds quite a rare breed, one must not deny the fact that female leaders are actually doing wonders.

According to the CNN Business report of August 2020, “The Fortune 500 now has a record number of female CEOs: A whopping 38”. Do you wonder why?

As per the study conducted by The Times of India, “the board of a private sector company, run by a professional CEO with a mix of both men and women, helped ROE rise by 4.4% in 2014 over the last year. In contrast, a similar company with a men-only board saw its ROE rise by a mere 1.8% in the same period.”.

As per a report by Business Standard, “According to Sixth Economic Census released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, women constitute around 14% of the total entrepreneurship i.e. 8.05 million out of the total 58.5 million entrepreneurs, noted the Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu. Out of this, 2.76 million women constituting 13.3% of women entrepreneurs work in the agriculture sector whereas 5.29 million women constituting more than 65% work in the non-agriculture sector. The average employment in women-owned enterprises is meager 1.67.” And this is a figure suggested by a developing country – India.

So, yes there are nations where being a female entrepreneur is a big deal.

Most of the women entrepreneurs across the world face numerous challenges like lack of support from their family – husband, parents, next of kin; lack of capital investment to run the startup, which leads to lack of self-confidence that act as interferences in their entrepreneurial quests. As per a 2017 report by TechCrunch – only 17 percent of startups have a women founder.

Let’s see what these five women entrepreneurs have to say about this.

“The challenges inherent in the environment and society do hold women back to varying degrees in different places. I am hopeful that awareness of the issue and societal shifts will happen over time and improve the situation for women everywhere. What is, however, entirely in the control of the individual, is cultivating conviction in your values and the voice to speak up, and developing a discerning gut-feeling for a work environment that is supportive of you. Find your values, strengthen those values, find your voice, and those people who believe in you to make a difference.”

“When you think the possible is impossible, it is. When you’re constantly told you are at a disadvantage, you start to believe it. The truth is, we can achieve whatever we put our mind to, regardless of sex, race, or religion. We have to move the agenda away from the male/female divide, as those businesses that succeed know there is a place for both in the boardroom.”

“I can’t claim to speak for all women, but I can speak to my experience since transitioning from 10 years in the corporate world to being a female founder. As a founder of a startup, especially in the first 1 to 1.5 years, all interactions were personal so who I was really mattered. Having always been bold and independent, I can’t say I felt held back, other than say, having less headspace than I would like to focus on my business given my responsibilities toward my parents and the role I play in my family setting. However, what I have found is that I need to work a lot harder to establish my credibility.”

“Women can be their own worst enemies. There is a sense of duty to do the “right” thing for everyone else but themselves – putting the needs of others before themselves. Taking the step of entrepreneurship is a risky one because it requires support to be given to you from the people around you for long periods of time. If you want to strive for success as an entrepreneur, you need to fully believe in yourself and that you deserve a fighting chance at success. Success means many different things to different people. You need to figure out what it means to you before you allow yourself to run after the wrong thing.”

“I think that self-doubt is what’s holding back any entrepreneur from success. If you believe in a business idea or a cause that is strong enough, you will naturally move the universe to make it work. As an entrepreneur, regardless of gender, many times you experience self-doubt. Starting, growing, and scaling your business takes a lot of time, energy, and mental strength which both men and women must be prepared for.”

The Major Factor – Confidence

Women and men begin on the same level of playing field when it comes to ideating new startup concepts. But once commenced, men still heavily outnumber women in the high-risk world of entrepreneurship because according to Ethan Mollick (Associate Professor at The Wharton School), “Most people who play the entrepreneurship game lose. So, in order to be an entrepreneur, you have to be overconfident. You have to believe that you’re better than everyone around you.”

In his report, he further added, “In fact, overconfidence is the biggest psychological predictor of whether or not you’re going to become an entrepreneur. Having misplaced confidence in yourself and thinking you can win when other people always lose is a strong predictor of entrepreneurship. We call this kind of overconfidence classic, Greek-style hubris — the idea of unfounded self-confidence.”.

As per his study, “it says that women have lower levels of hubris than men — they’re less likely to be overconfident.”.

And when women think of turning tables, men, in general, can’t digest this thought and further leads to raised eyebrows when we talk highly of female entrepreneurs.

Defeating a man in the race of entrepreneurship is not easy and is especially worse when the industry is dominated by men.Shifting the mental mind frame especially taking on social norms, the mental mindset has to have enough fortitude to withstand the consequences. While this is going to take some time, we should focus more on the greatest surge of women-owned enterprises as per a report published in The 2019 State Of Women-Owned Businesses Report.

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