Being a woman in business today comes with many obstacles, but it may also bring some unique advantages and opportunities. By navigating challenges and taking advantage of opportunities that come their way, women can go further in business. Below are some of the challenges some women may face and opportunities that may offer them new success.
Challenges Women in Business Face
The number of challenges women have faced in business have been around for decades. They may be shrinking but continue to play a role in the lives of many. One prominent example is underrepresentation in certain fields and industries. Many fields have been less accessible to women than to men. STEM fields, for example, tend to be male dominated under the false impression that women do not have the skills for jobs linked to science.1 This makes it difficult for women to not only obtain those skills but for those who have them to secure top positions in the field. A lack of women leadership may hamper some from obtaining prominent leadership roles.
Another challenge for women in business is gender bias and stereotyping. Men may be promoted more often than women, start at higher salaries, and have a better chance of being hired in the first place in some situations. Misconceptions related to women being less dedicated and more likely to need time off for their families contribute to this.1
Advantages Women Have in Business
While women may face many challenges when it comes to business, they also have some advantages. Women tend to excel more at soft skills than their male counterparts, which are crucial skills for any professional. High levels of self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and the ability to deal with conflict make women valuable, especially in leadership positions.1 Women also provide consumer insight, which is extremely important as women are responsible for up to 85% of all consumer purchases.1
Opportunities Women Should Take Advantage Of
By taking advantage of the available opportunities for women in business, they help themselves succeed and set the tone for future generations. One opportunity that women may wish to seize upon is using entrepreneurship as a path to leadership positions. The number of female entrepreneurs continues to grow each year. Many of these women use their positions as owners to mentor others looking to take on similar leadership roles.1 Women may also benefit by seizing on higher education opportunities, making them more attractive candidates for future leadership roles.1