The Rise of Female Entrepreneurs

The Rise of Female Entrepreneurs

It’s been over a year since the UK emerged from its third Covid-19 lockdown, and commerce is still recovering. A decline in profits, redundancies, and some companies forced to close completely…there are few businesses that escaped the pandemic without being impacted in some way.

Even before 2020, there was a prevalent gender gap in the workplace. Women were rarely paid the same as their male counterparts, despite doing exactly the same job. And, with less representation in senior positions, women make up just 34% of a board of directors. The glass ceiling appears to still be with us, and it’s more transparent than ever.

The pandemic may have set women back even further. In 2021, the UK’s gender pay gap rose from 14.9% to 15.4%, meaning that, on average, women now earn about 15% less every hour than their male counterparts. Research suggests that our society might still be more than a hundred years away from achieving true gender equality in the workplace. Current generations don’t have that long to wait, which could be why some of them are taking matters into their own hands. Because, if barriers such as these exist, is it worth being employed when you know that your work won’t be worth the same as your male colleagues’?

Sheryl Sandberg, the famous American businesswoman and billionaire, recently stepped down as Chief Operating Officer of Facebook; she wanted to spend more time with her family and to focus on her philanthropic work. Of course, Sheryl Sandberg can afford to withdraw from the cutthroat world of business and devote the rest of her time to altruistic causes, but for the average woman, retiring early is not an option. In every sector, women consistently have smaller pensions, on average, than men. So, what other options do they have?

The data points to a rise in female entrepreneurship. GoDaddy found that women are running 40% of the UK’s microbusinesses. Forbes recently reported on a wave of women over fifty starting their own companies, citing them as ‘the new entrepreneurial superpower’. As well as holding 64% of the world’s spending power, it also appears that mid-life ladies are twice as likely to be successful entrepreneurs than women in their twenties, which is perhaps due to their compounded wisdom and greater life experience.

However, there’s still a long way to go for female entrepreneurs. Though a faster-growing component of the working world than men, only one in every three UK entrepreneurs is female, a study by the government has concluded; this is equivalent to ‘a gender gap of 1.1 million missing businesses’. On top of this, ‘male-led SMEs are five times more likely to scale up to £1m turnover than female-led SMEs.’ Could it be that entrepreneurship holds similar barriers for women?

Women over fifty rarely make the news. They’re seen as ‘past it’ a long time before such a premise is even considered for men. Ageism is rife in Hollywood, where older actresses have trouble getting roles that aren’t ‘dowdy old mother’ or ‘rich man’s maid’, yet male actors well into their fifties and sixties can still bag the starring role. The President of the United States is 79 years old, yet there’s never even been a female president.

This year, Forbes made an effort to combat age bias in the media by publishing a list of ‘50 women over 50’—proving that success has no age limit, an inverted response to the ‘30 under 30’ list they release every year.

Women over fifty are climbing the career ladder, even if it’s a ladder of their own making. However, there’s no doubt that there are many obstacles to overcome before women will be truly equal to men in the workplace.

Working as we do in recruitment web design, we suspect that statistics would show our sector to be overrun with male employees. We therefore strive to be as inclusive as possible when advertising roles within Fast Recruitment Websites.

How does your site compare? Is it as inclusive as it could be? Would you like an informed second opinion? For advice from the experts, contact us on 01302 288591.

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