Women Entrepreneurs In The 21st Century

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In the last 20 years, we have seen women emphatically taking their place in the growing economy. Female entrepreneurship is making large strides in the global business sector. For example, according to American Express, the number of female-owned businesses increased by a whopping 114% in the United States from the beginning of the 21st century. Women now generate trillions of dollars in revenue every year while also offering millions of jobs. The employees in women-owned businesses are also largely dominated by them.

At iKeva, we’re experiencing this transformation on a much closer level, with a woman-dominated workforce that enthusiastically shares a vision and drive. More on that later, though. Let’s begin by diving into the hard facts.

What do the numbers say?

In 2007, 7.8 million businesses were independently owned by women, but this is not the case in every country. 40% of the female population of Zambia is involved in entrepreneurial activities while only 1% of the Pakistani women are entrepreneurs. The demographic is not very balanced in terms of age either, most women start a business later on in their lives due to unsatisfactory jobs making this a need for working women. Women aged between 40-60 are dominating the business population in terms of numbers.

What is behind the rise of women in business?

Most women start their independent businesses due to necessity. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report, “women are nearly 33% more likely to start businesses out of necessity than men.” There are several reasons behind this: Due to a male-dominated workplace environment, women have a ton of issues to deal with.

  • Apart from the obvious reasons of the pay-gap and mistreatment of women in corporate workplaces, female entrepreneurs have also stated that they wanted to be more in control of their careers and implement their ideas.
  • Women are also known to have a higher education than men, which is not a surprise when they are known to have a higher graduation rate than their male counterparts. Naturally, as they moved to a more controlled area of their career, it took off.

What Are The Problems Faced by Female Entrepreneurs?

As any self-made businessperson does, women too face a number of hurdles on their path to financial success and stability. But the dissimilarities are alarming, one of the most prominent of these problems is the lack of capital and the difficulty faced in raising it.

  • Women are equally participating in the “Male-dominated areas” of businesses such as technological industries, despite most sources being disingenuous about this.
  • Women are also effectively managing and making outstanding social connections and expanding their network.

However, a lot of studies say that their social capital – the networks an individual has access to – is often overlooked as being different from the networks and pitches of their male counterparts, making it harder for them to obtain private equity funding. This is also a reason for most female-owned businesses to be locally based and managed from their homes.

Another study suggests that a person would look for private funding from sources with certain experiential and background similarities, which leads to new business owners seeking financial help from other individuals of the same sex. This is a very undermined problem when talking about female entrepreneurship, as not a lot of women are present in the industry to provide funds to business owners.

Another overlooked problem is that of marketing. With good marketing and advertising comes financial growth, which most female entrepreneurs are finding quite challenging. Due to the under-representation of women in various areas such as the STEM fields and different social standings, women usually are unable to get their product/service to the masses causing huge damage to their financial growth rates.

Most of these problems are getting better as they are gaining popularity. Many world governments are joining hands to come up with new strategies and tools to help the growth and eradicate gender-specific issues in the world of economy.

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What will the future of female entrepreneurship look like?

Frankly, we couldn’t be more excited about the future of female entrepreneurship. And this isn’t solely due to trends, statistics and the like. At iKeva, we’re experiencing this silent transformation first hand. Founded by Monika Misra, who lead the way for us in driving this positive change – iKeva is home to a largely female workforce. Women make up more than 50% of our happy team, working together to elevate working communities and bringing coworking spaces to everyone.

Of course, there are multiple other positive outcomes for these women who have established businesses:

  • Most of them report higher satisfaction and happiness compared to men. In terms of numbers from recent studies, women seem to be 160% more likely to have higher satisfaction and overall well-being compared to men. A majority of these women also feel positive about the grown of female-run businesses, both in number and financial aspects.
  • Teams working under female leadership tend to be more satisfied than the teams working under male leaders. This, in turn, raises the productivity of the team and helps the organization in reaching new heights.
  • Despite some of the drawbacks, the future looks bright. Leaders such as Estee Lauder, Weili Dai and Oprah Winfrey have set huge examples and inspired many millions of other women to climb up the corporate ladder.

In a couple of decades, we may even witness the female population overtaking men in successful business administration, making them extremely efficient in utilizing skills and brains to start their very own era. At iKeva, we’re going to be both the audience and a participant to this change!