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Female Entrepreneurs - Barriers for Women When Starting up a Business
Starting up a new business can prove tricky for anyone. A woman seeking to establish her own business, however, faces the added difficulty of institutionalized sexism, both in America's corporate sector and modern society.
By: Gary McGeown
"Starting up a new business can prove tricky for anyone. A woman seeking to establish her own business, however, faces the added difficulty of institutionalized sexism, both in America's corporate sector and modern society.
In order to better overcome these barriers and achieve success for her business, an aspiring female business owner must take into account the many barriers that stand in the way of starting up a small business.
As of 1997, women-owned businesses only constituted 26% of America's total businesses, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Women's Bureau. Since then, the number of businesses owned by women has risen to 40%, but difficulties still abound for women seeking to succeed in the male-dominated business market.
Perhaps one of the greatest obstacles for women business owners to overcome is the "Leisure Gap." While a working woman can shoulder a great deal of responsibility in the workplace, she is also routinely expected to take on most of the burden of the home, including household chores and family responsibilities.
Working women, too, must struggle with breaking through the "glass ceiling" - a term coined to describe the societal restrictions placed against business women, due to their gender. Although the term has been a part of the popular lexicon since the mid-1980s, its significance still continues to influence working women all over the country, as evidenced by the fact that, on average, women workers only earn 78 cents to every dollar earned by their male coworkers.
As stated above, any would-be female entrepreneur must be fully aware of what roadblocks she will be up against on the path to business success. Sometimes, from a strictly societal standpoint, it is paramount to know just how far we haven't progressed in some regards, too.
Without a deep and in-depth knowledge of an obstacle, it would be nearly impossible for anyone to achieve personal and professional success. For women especially, these obstacles can be great and varied, and thus, plotting a roadmap for business success is critical.
Although the types of barriers cannot always be broken down into simple, digestible forms, some general roadblocks encountered by women in starting up a business include:
Difficulty in making time for business measures and necessities. As stated previously, the Leisure Gap presents possibly the greatest barrier for women in trying to start up a business.
A general lack of assertiveness. According to the Small Business Bible, women are more likely than men to set lower prices for their products and services, for fear of driving clients away with too high prices.
The looming presence of the "glass ceiling." A writer for the Boston Herald pointed out recently that sexism and preconceived notions about a woman's place being in the home still abound. An article from CNN even found that men are twice as likely to start a business as women are, which could help explain why only one out of every five million-dollar revenue firms is woman-owned.
It is perhaps unnecessary to point out that the effects of these barriers can be devastating for women, both professionally and personally. Obstacles like a hostile business environment and the unshakability of the Leisure Gap can discourage women from striking out and establishing their own business. This is why it is important for business women to take into account the barriers that they may face, and to understand how best to overcome them.
In order to be successful in starting up a business, women should have a full understanding of what they will be up against. They should take precautions to budget their time effectively, and create an adequate and manageable business plan by which to conduct their work. They shouldn't shy away from hiring others to assist in the business---a common mistake for women business owners is to attempt to shoulder all of the workload, according to the Small Business Bible. Most importantly, women entrepreneurs must be willing to work extra hard, remain dedicated, and never give up on their commitment to making their business work." (ehow)
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