Oh no! Not another Women’s Month! It comes around every year, like Boney M at Christmas.
Women’s Month irks me; firstly because it perpetuates the belief that women are inferior citizens that need our sympathy and support, and secondly, because surely women, just like men, are a 365 day a year reality?
Global statistics showing how women lag in business are quite shocking. Women-led businesses are significantly less likely to raise finance for their business (and in some surveys even pay punitive interest rates) and a tiny (miniscule) fraction of global businesses are led by women. If you are curious to define miniscule – only 4.6% of the S&P 500 listed companies are headed by women!
The reasons behind women’s low business success ratings are numerous, starting with a general attitude that they are somehow inferior to men (a belief perpetuated by culture, tradition and education); that women have an inherent discomfort with numbers, and money; and a perceived lack of education, especially in the logical subjects such as maths and science that are fundamental to business. In every single economy included in the GEM 2012 study, women also believed they have lower capabilities than men, and on average, display a greater level of fear of failure than men.
Yet statistics often distort reality, and I have worked with so many women who break free of these stereotypes – good strong, capable, creative and courageous women with successful businesses of all shapes and sizes. Many succeed whilst juggling the role of single parent and bread-winner, and increasingly, young women entrepreneurs are thumbing their nose at these tired stereotypes. That’s exciting.
This month we feature some great women – business owners and writers. Wonder women in the flesh, 365 days of the year.
CEO and Founder of Fetola,