Women in business face a constant uphill battle to receive the same respect and recognition as their male counterparts, often being passed up or isolated from their peers. Yet, from Oprah Winfrey to Alice Walton, some of the most influential and successful entrepreneurs have been women. While it may take some hard work, their efforts show that with a little dedication and much patience, women will succeed in business.
Although diversity and gender equality have gained more attention within the workforce, female managers must be comfortable taking risks, acknowledging, and confronting inequalities, and embracing their own natural leadership abilities. By working to undo generations of patriarchal business practices, women can establish fair and equitable institutions that better serve the business world.
Don’t Be Afraid to Step Outside the Comfort Zone
In order to be successful in business, women entrepreneurs must be willing to take risks. This means wholeheartedly stepping outside of their comfort zone and into unfamiliar territory. And, although women are often socialized by their cultures to be risk-averse, pushing against the grain or going against their expected roles can help women benefit professionally and personally.
Fortunately, most women already have the flexibility and adaptability needed to take risks. By recognizing that a decision may be hard but embracing it anyway, women entrepreneurs are better able to position themselves and their businesses for success. This does, however, mean that women in business should become comfortable with confrontation.
Existing corporate structures have historically been instituted to benefit men rather than women but, as women continue to prove their value, a glaring gender gap remains. This means women must be able to confront inequalities and challenge the status quo to establish their footing within their respective industries.
Cement Gender Equality into the Business Model
Once women have stepped outside their comfort zone and become more confrontational, they can begin to change the business world itself. One way to do so is by ensuring that their own businesses are models of gender equality. This can be done in a number of ways, such as ensuring equal pay, hiring a diverse staff, and offering paid parental leave.
Additionally, women should avoid using sexist language, sexualizing their employees, or making assumptions about gender roles. By setting these standards early on and establishing them as a bedrock of the employee onboarding process, women can help to create a more level playing field for all employees, regardless of their gender.
Additionally, these practices can help attract top talent, as more and more people are looking to work for companies that have progressive policies. A 2018 study conducted by Deloitte found that Millennials—the largest generation within the workforce—prefer inclusive work environments and believe that equality improves performance. By creating workplaces that respect all employees, gender-equal businesses can thrive and outperform outdated competitors.
Embrace Natural Leadership Abilities
Successful female entrepreneurs should also embrace their natural leadership abilities. After all, women have proven themselves to be just as competent as men when it comes to leadership roles. One way to do so is by taking the time to develop a personal brand. This can be done by refining one’s social media presence, writing articles or books, or giving speeches.
By doing so, women can become known as experts in their field, which can help them attract more customers, clients, or investors. Additionally, women should also focus on networking. Although it can be difficult to put oneself out there, meeting new people and making connections are essential for business success.
By attending industry events, participating in online forums, or joining professional organizations, women can make the connections they need to take their businesses to the next level. Finally, women should also focus on mentorship. By finding a mentor or being a mentor themselves, women can help support other women in business. This, in turn, can help create a more supportive business environment for all.
Women in business face many challenges but by overcoming their fears and confronting inequalities head-on, they can revolutionize what it means to run a business. By taking risks, embracing their natural leadership abilities, and working to undo years of efforts to keep women down, female entrepreneurs and managers can change the business world for the better.