A woman entrepreneur? One of the most doubt-filled question or probably the most arguable notion that exists in the 21st century. The feminine workforce dates back to the colonial era, but history says; active participation of women in business started during World War II, since, men marched off to war, the responsibility of earning bread fell upon the women left behind.
It was during this period, women began to discover their self-sustaining capacity, taking on authoritative positions at home and business. Initial years were tough and women taking up business as a profession were treated as inferior.
However, it was between 1906 and 1919, the first woman entrepreneur in the world – Sarah Breedlove known as Madam C.J. Walker changed the way how business-oriented women were looked upon. The trend of women – starting, growing, and managing business has gained prominence since then. Skill, adaptability, and knowledge in business are the main drivers for women to undertake business ventures.
There are many successful women entrepreneurs in various industries across the globe. Their outstanding performance has set a good example for other women. Still, the attitude of accepting women as entrepreneurs and granting them equal status is far from reality.
Although women are making notable progress in entrepreneurship, their accomplishments are not without glitches. Studies identify funding and family support as the primary hurdles faced by women entrepreneurs. Given below are top 5 challenges faced by women entrepreneurs.
Male domination: Most industries are male-dominated and it is difficult for a woman to earn respect. It is equally challenging when women have to direct males who usually do not like being directed. Male dominion deprives women of achieving much-deserved success.
Social expectations: Women business owners are expected to retain a modest attitude toward business ethics. Competitiveness, aggression, and being overly harsh are few traits male counterparts never expect or appreciate from female entrepreneurs.
Funding problem: Raising funds to start a business is more difficult for women entrepreneurs. Investors resist from investing in women-led startups or organizations hence it becomes very tough to pitch their business concept and raise capital to take it off the ground.
Lack of support network: The business world is still dominated by men and it is hard for women to carve their path and connect with elite business networks. Majority of women express lack of support network, availability of advisors and mentors seizes their professional growth.
Balancing professional and personal life: Entrepreneurs, irrespective of gender, have a goal to balance work and personal life, but for women, it is challenging to simultaneously run the business and look after their families as well.
As women-led businesses continue to develop their impact in the 21st century, the business world will witness prolific business women across major verticals. With support from all corners, the year 2018 promises positive results from scores of women entrepreneurs.