Eight Challenges That Women Entrepreneurs Face
Entrepreneurship is a buzzword that has much more common usage now than about a decade ago. But what does it mean? Well, to flatten the hype of this word, it is just another fancy word for business, but with some innovation. A business often accompanies many challenges, especially for women. Our society’s expectations from both men and women differ due to some pre-established notions. As women are now moving into roles that were previously considered gender-specific, they have to cope with society’s antagonism to such a change. From financing to inequality in the entire system, a female entrepreneur simply does not have a level playing field while competing with a male entrepreneur. She faces obstacles in her business every step of the way, and many of these hindrances are gender-specific. However, this does not deter many successful women entrepreneurs who not only overwhelm the challenges but also prosper.
When one thinks of a business, the mind goes straight to big conglomerates that occupy most of the big businesses in the world. However, if you look around locally, the number of small businesses exceed the big businesses by a considerable amount. So, it is logical to imagine that following this universal trend, most of the women own small businesses. Among other issues, women entrepreneurs also have to cope with the financing challenges such as getting a line of credit for their small business. We will discuss and elaborate on eight such challenges for women in this article.
Funding a business is one of the biggest issues that most of the businesses face around the world. However, this problem is compounded in the case of female entrepreneurs. As the system is driven basically by patriarchy, they face trust issues from lenders when applying for small business loans or line of credit. These gender biases usually get in the way of a woman’s business becoming successful.
Cultural and social expectations
Women also have to fight the pre-established notion of a nurturing role assigned by society to the female gender. This means that society has defined gender roles such as housewife for females, and when they see them doing business, they are frowned upon. Culture fails to see that a woman can multitask, or that she should have the choice to choose what she wants to do with her life. This creates incredible difficulties for a woman entrepreneur as the society does not approve the idea of her running a business and making is successful.
It is sometimes difficult for a woman to balance her work and private life. Many females believe in taking control of their lives in the private sphere instead of relying on help. When she is not able to manage this balance, her productivity of running a business successfully also gets affected.
Struggle for respect
A woman generally also has to struggle for respect among her male peers. Every woman has faced discrimination based on her gender at least once in her life, and this discrimination extends to the role of leadership too. A patriarchal male is not ready to submit to the authority of a woman even though she might be her boss. This, in turn, creates problems for a woman entrepreneur to make her business profitable.
The fear of failure
Everyone has a fear of failure, but in the case of a woman, this fear is heightened when combined with the other problems discussed so far. This not only discourages a woman from working hard for her business but can also force her to give up altogether.
Our whole society has historically been based on patriarchal foundations which means everything happens according to the androcentric point of view. To put this in simple words, everything from politics to laws, religion, and culture is male-centric. As an example, most of the corporate laws only accommodate men, and for a woman to work in such an environment becomes an increasingly challenging task.
Networking is one of the key requirements to make a business successful. One should be able to establish contacts and relationships with a vast variety of people. Since most of the industry is male-dominated, it becomes a disadvantage for a female entrepreneur. It also comes at a risk of men exploit her networking to establish personal relations which is nothing short of an unnecessary nuisance for women.
A widely known women issue is that they face harassment; hence they limit their social interactions as much as possible. However, learning is a continuous process that accompanies these social interactions. Although a woman is looking out for herself by avoiding these interactions, she is also missing the opportunity to learn something new every day.
Female entrepreneurs do not have it easy when it comes to making a business successful in a male-dominated society. She not only faces harassment but also has to cope with gender equality and general bias. However, this does not mean that she should not pursue her business. As the famous saying goes, success lies beyond the comfort zone, and women should take it as a challenge to defeat patriarchy in society.