Do female entrepreneurs face challenges in being respected as leaders in their companies?

Women entrepreneurship has skyrocketed in the last 20 years with a 114% increase in female entrepreneurs. They are thriving in a male dominated environment. Despite this fact, women are constantly faced with challenges in their workspace. They have to overcome obstacles that are very different from those faced by their male counterparts. We are shedding some light on a few of the many challenges faced by female entrepreneurs and how to overcome them.



Limited Funding


One of the major setbacks of being a female entrepreneur is obtaining funding for their business venture. Raising capital is much more difficult for a women-owned business, and they are often denied loans because of their gender or culture. As a result, women rely on credit cards and raise capital on their own to get their business off the ground.


The good news is that women can overcome this challenge and seal the deal with investors by boosting their confidence through a supportive team and winning business plan. Another way to tackle this challenge is to get a female investor onboard, because venture capitalists generally invest in businesses owned by people of their kind. This means a female investor would more likely be willing to invest in a female-owned business, and vice versa.


Maintaining a Professional and Personal Life Balance


Most women are not only successful business owners, they also have other responsibilities like children and spouses. At times, it can be very challenging to strike a balance between work and family. When one responsibility becomes demanding it can pressurize a woman to drop either her family or business. This is even harder for women who have no/little social support, because they have to carry this burden all alone.


To overcome this obstacle, women need to prioritize their work and share the workload wherever they can. They need to set strict boundaries and leave their work at the office, not come home with it.



Fear of Failure


Every business has its own risks and weaknesses. Women must not let fear of failure and fear of the unknown discourage them. In most cases, women are scared of failing because the people around them are skeptical and have no faith in them or their business idea. When they let this fear take over, they lose their confidence and their business fails. But, they can prevent this failure by believing in themselves and ignoring negative talk.


Their insecurities must not stop them from dreaming big. Yes, failure is possible but it should be seen as a learning tool, not set them back from achieving their goals. Female entrepreneurs need to persevere and not lose sight of their destination.


Lack of Support


The philosophy, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know”, is 100% accurate. A strong support system is key to entrepreneurial success. It’s a proven fact that a lack of connections limit professional growth. Women need mentors and advisors to guide their new venture and provide them with emotional support. They also need a good network of sponsors and investors to help them gain financial access.


Female entrepreneurs don’t need to break their budget to start building a good support system. An effective and affordable way is to attend women-oriented networking events. These events are specifically created for meeting other female successful strong women who are looking to invest in startups or offer advice. Female entrepreneurs should also join online forums and groups that are dedicated to women in business.



Gender Inequality


Even though laws have structures in place which promote gender equality, women still find themselves having to work their way up in a male dominated environment. They are constantly looked down upon and face stigma and discrimination. This is mainly due to the fact that we live in a patriarchy world. Our religion, culture, laws, and politics are all built on this foundation.


However, gender lens investing is growing. This form of investing serves to promote gender equality. The approach intentionally uses capital to address gender discrimination and better inform investment decisions.


Not Taken Seriously


At some point in time, female CEOs will find themselves in a masculine environment that refuses to accept their leadership role. In this tough situation, women will feel that their position is undermined. Their decisions will not be taken seriously because their colleagues believe that they do not have sufficient knowledge. Women will find themselves struggling to work against these stereotypes.


To overcome this challenge women need to believe in themselves and their potential. They need to build up their confidence and create an authoritative first impression.


Own Your Accomplishments


Most successful women are timid about their accomplishments because they don’t want to be labeled as a showoff or boastful. Female entrepreneurs and successful CEOs tend to downplay their worth without even realising it, making it difficult to prove their value as a leader.


Women need to be confident and own their success because they have earned it. They have worked against all odds and they deserve the recognition. When women stand by their success it inspires people around them.


Female entrepreneurs consist of ⅓ of entrepreneurs in the world. However many of them lose faith in themselves before their ventures even take off. This is mostly due to the challenges they face being a woman in a leadership role.


If you are a female entrepreneur, don’t give up. These challenges are just little hurdles in your path that you can overcome. Believe in yourself and you will succeed. :)