A thought for International Women’s Day.

If you have ever listened to Kara Loewentheil’s podcast, Unf*ck Your Brain, you will have heard of social conditioning and in particular, the social conditioning women face around the topic of numbers, money and finances. According to Loewentheil, women are influenced to think of money as something to be feared. They are conditioned to think that maths is a ‘male’ subject and that we need to hand our financial concerns over to our nearest male connection. If not, we will spend any money we have on shoes and handbags.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying shoes and handbags (especially when women’s clothing STILL regularly lacks pockets). The point I want to make is that all genders, if given the right foundation about how to conceptualise finances, will feel as confident as society’s expectations for men.  If you identify as male and you don’t feel confident around money, that doesn’t make you any less a man, it just makes you human!

This is not an article seeking to undermine men. Far from it. What this article hopes to highlight is the work that has been done, and what we still need to do and see from policy makers. When it comes to female and marginalised gender opportunities in the entrepreneurial sector, there is still room for growth.

So let’s celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) by looking at a few ways that you can find a sense of empowerment through creative entrepreneurship. By looking at the trends, possibilities and strategies that will help you on your way no matter what stage you are at and what your gender is, we can see how we can all be a positive force for sustainable change!

According to the World Economics Forum (WEForum), despite roughly half the global population identifying as female, only 37% of global GDP comes from women. If we can increase this, there is a strong possibility that we can increase global economic development at the same time as redressing gender inequalities. Often, there are traditional expectations placed on women.

If 43% more women than men who start a business then leave or close it down due to ‘family reasons’ there is clearly a greater expectation for women to be responsible for the home and the family. She must put these responsibilities before thinking of her work and her own career. If we could change this narrative to all genders having equal responsibility for the home and family, there is a very strong possibility that the world would be a more cohesive place. And we would make greater progress in solving more of the world’s problems. We need only look at the fact that women’s health has been given significantly fewer research possibilities and much less funding purely because it is focused on women. It is only now that we see how giving equal status to gendered research for all genders will help to improve collective health and productivity. 

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The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2022/23 Women’s Entrepreneurship Report: Challenging Bias and Stereotypes

The WEForum also cites a body of research, The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2022/23 Women’s Entrepreneurship Report: Challenging Bias and Stereotypes which highlights 6 major trends in the current entrepreneurial landscape for women. 

  1.  In lower income regions there is often a higher level of female entrepreneurial  ambition.
  2. There has been an increase in high growth entrepreneurial activities lead by women
  3. Young women are the driving force behind entrepreneurship.
  4. There are noticeably more female solopreneurs. 
  5. More women are exiting the entrepreneurial scene than entering.
  6. The main reason for women becoming entrepreneurs is job scarcity. 

On the whole, this looks very positive but of course there is always more work to be done. However, we cannot overlook how women are leading the way in lower income areas, they are trying to improve their options by creating them. Women might not have the educational levels that men do in certain geographical areas if educating boys is seen as a better use of money than educating girls. However, this does not mean that that girl cannot grow into a highly intelligent woman who wants to make a good life for herself. It might be hard and she might face backlash. But, if we can increase our support of these women in their entrepreneurial projects by building a truly global network of female and under-represented founders then there is a chance for true and lasting change. 

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The GEM Takeaway

One of the main positive takeaways for the GEM report is that there is an ever growing trend of women entering entrepreneurship in creative fields. The opportunities it presents for empowerment and financial independence are huge. However, having your own business is not a synonym for choosing an easy life. Being an entrepreneur requires hard work, often late nights and a lot of self doubt. But it does provide flexibility in your time table, giving you the possibility to deal with childcare or other caring commitments more easily. It also gives you the ability to make decisions for yourself that showcase your skills more fully.

You are far more likely to find a sense of purpose and self in the work you have. By remaining flexible and adaptable, you can stay up to date with new trends and new tech.  The need to worry about waiting for management to decide what you can and can’t have is gone.

In Flowerista we also have the added bonus that Sara has created a very holistic approach to work and the working environment. I couldn’t make it through a post without including gentleness! And that’s exactly what Sara imbues every step of the business with, a sense of gentleness and trust. You too can build this for those who work with you, your clients and your suppliers. People remember when they are treated well. It might be considered a feminine trait but I would argue that every person deserves respect and to be treated well regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, background or education.

Conclusion

If we can change the conversation around what is men’s work and what is considered a feminine attribute then maybe we will see more female accountants and entrepreneurs because they have been encouraged and told that they are good at maths, that starting your own business is a possibility for any gender and that you can find a platform and a following for what you do.

If you want to see how this rich background and wealth of possibilities can really make a difference to your life and shape your future, then why not sign up for the next session of Business’n’Play? You can start planning, testing and getting feedback on your ideas as the game progresses. All this whilst enjoying the support of a group of peers and a facilitator. Happy International Women’s Day!

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