When a woman sets out to start an entrepreneurial venture, she faces challenges different from those men face. In 2022, the challenges are enormous as the economy is just beginning to rise from its plunge during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Regardless of the change in time that led to over 252 million women entrepreneurs worldwide, they are still struggling to overwhelm the problems they face regularly. With a third of the entrepreneurs in the world being women, it has never looked better for them on paper. However, these numbers only tell a part of their story. Men still run a considerable part of the business. As in most sectors of the world today, gender norms significantly affect the ecosystem of entrepreneurship.
Here are some points highlighting the various disparities women entrepreneurs worldwide face in 2022.
One of the biggest challenges is the underrepresentation of women investors. Fundamentally, a woman entrepreneur will pitch to more men at every level of the investment spectrum – right from angels, VCs, growth capital, private equity, and family offices. Therefore, women are less likely to pitch their ideas to women. On the other hand, men are more likely to pitch to men.
While everything depends on the business idea, the barriers to investment are higher when pitching to a group who are less likely to understand a female-biased product, service, or tech. Ideas servicing women customers every so often are dismissed as ‘lifestyle’/’femtech,’ etc., despite women comprising almost 50% of the population and controlling domestic spending. There is a need for more experienced female investors to support women entrepreneurs and accept their ideas more often.
There are numerous challenges women face when starting their businesses. These challenges range from gender disparities in pay to accessible resources. They hinder the success of women entrepreneurs to become successful. Sustainability is an emergent area across the corporate world, but there are also concerns over the lack of senior female leadership. For women entrepreneurs, such statistics do not highlight inherent issues around gender imbalances and opportunities in the corporate world. Women need to make their way up in a masculine world, facing stigma and discrimination. Governments are endeavoring to make a favorable environment for them, but women continue to be seen as inferior to men despite having the right attitude and aptitude. These struggles only add up to difficulties in starting a business.
Lack of support
One of the significant challenges women entrepreneurs face is that they do not find any reliable support. The support system in our society is inadequate. If one female supports another and shares their knowledge, so many people would easily prevent themselves from many hurdles, and thus the chain goes on. Often women do not get the support of their families while starting an independent business. It is the social responsibility of successful entrepreneurs to guide the female entrepreneurs so that they feel their work is more enjoyable and less challenging. When women support each other, incredible things happen.
Implementing marketing strategies
One of the primary challenges many women entrepreneurs face is that they cannot implement proper marketing strategies, which is of foremost importance for all businesses, especially newly launched businesses. Though women entrepreneurs strive hard to market their business, they find it challenging to do so effectively. Many enterprises led by women fail due to improper implementation of marketing techniques. If you cannot market your business well, you cannot grow it well. Marketing is the need of any business right from day one, and it is mandatory even for successful businesses. Good marketing makes a business profitable.
Approximately 66% of primary caregivers are women, which is another major challenge women entrepreneurs face today, especially after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. This figure suggests prioritizing business work might be more challenging, particularly when starting up. For many women entrepreneurs, it can be challenging to divide their time between establishing and achieving their business goals while juggling family commitments. Though the number of primary male caregivers has somewhat improved in recent decades, higher numbers are needed to help give a level playing field for female entrepreneurs who wish to pursue their business ambitions. Due to extreme work pressure, it becomes so difficult for them to balance their work-life and family life because, for females, their families must be a top priority for them.
Adversities in team building
Nothing great can be achieved without a team. Similarly, no business can perform all internal and external operations alone because no one is an expert in everything. Hence, it is essential to have a good team where each team member is dedicated to performing tasks. Building such an efficient team often becomes a challenge for many female entrepreneurs. The reasons for this could be varied, ranging from being very selective in choosing team members to social obstacles and trust issues.
Difficulty in developing a network
Business owners need to network efficiently to be successful. Usually, many women find it challenging to socialize and build networks with people in the market. One of the essential things that successful entrepreneurs do is create a supportive network with authoritative and experienced people. However, this is a big challenge for females, as it is not easy to search for the correct and helpful network for their business. To network effectively, one should be wise enough and strong enough and target specific areas and people.
In recent years, things have improved for female entrepreneurs, but many challenges and disparities among male entrepreneurs remain. Hence, it is essential to find ways to overcome these challenges and level the playing field. Supporting female start-ups is integral to the future of women in business when women lead only 16% of SME employers, and only 15% of women are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies in the United States.
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