Why Should You Support Female-Owned Businesses?

Updated: Jan 23

Female entrepreneurship is on the rise - yay!! We, as women, are setting our sights higher than ever before and going after what we want.

According to a study by UENI in 2020:

From the 22,257 businesses surveyed, approximately 7,205 were launched by female entrepreneurs. This sets the number of UK businesses currently owned by women at 32.37%, highlighting a remarkable shift from four years ago, when just 17% of founders were female.

Good things are happening to level out the business playing field, thanks to women who are coming together to call out the BS and raise their voices.

But, despite all of this, there's still a long road ahead and the stark reality remains that it's pretty damn hard being a female-owned business.

Does The Glass Ceiling Still Exist?

Oh yes, you'd better believe it babe.

The term "glass ceiling" refers to the invisible barriers that women face when trying to advance in their careers or 'climb the ladder' within an organisation, regardless of their suitability, experience or qualifications.

These barriers prevent women from succeeding and are due to discrimination based on sexism.

Unfortunately, these barriers don't just exist in the workplace but are also very real for female entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, start-ups, freelancers etc. starting/running their own businesses too.

Invisible Barriers Encountered By Women In Business

In 2018, the government launched a review to examine the barriers faced by female entrepreneurs. HM Treasury appointed Alison Rose, CEO of NatWest Group Commercial and Private Banking - the first woman to lead one of the UK's big four banks - as the woman for the job. She was spot-on when she said:

"If we want to strengthen the UK’s position as one of the best places in the world to start and grow a business, then no-one can be left behind."

Let's take a look at those barriers - I won't lie, they are pretty f*cked up:

Lack of Financial Support

Funding and investment doesn't come as easily to our ventures with investors still favouring investment in male-owned businesses. And when a woman's pitch is successful, she receives much less capital than a man would.

What's more infuriating is that, according to research, businesses that are founded by women actually provide higher returns on investment than those founded by men!

Lack of Social Support

For those of us who are mothers, we're expected to raise a family and be a home-maker whilst simultaneously proving that that we're fully committed to our jobs. The perception is often that women with families won't show up and will eventually leave their jobs because the role of 'mother' is disruptive.

And, to make it harder, child care is complex and expensive!

Mothers have SO much to bring to a workforce, with their ability to multi-task, prioritise, show empathy, make difficult and timely decisions. Hopefully, more employers will demonstrate flexibility and understanding, post-pandemic, because these assumptions and generalisations about women not being committed are insulting.

Access to Business Support

Building connections is key for businesses and getting support from other business leaders can really boost your success and growth . However, fewer female founders on the scene means female mentorship is in a much shorter supply.

So it becomes harder for women to seek out other female leaders who have been there and done it and can identify with their struggles and offer guidance.

Fortunately, ever-resourceful women are seeking out support on social media and there's been an increase in networking memberships with a female focus, such as Found & Flourish or AllBright.

Discrimination - Gender Inequality & Gender Pay Gap

This varies from unconscious bias to outright sexism.

Women find that they're treated differently from their male colleagues, for example, not being taken seriously, being perceived as being more emotional, even being asked 'softer' question to allow the men to answer the 'hard' questions. Women have to work harder to prove they are not to be underestimated.

And unfortunately, sexual harassment at work is far more prevalent for women than men.

Other forms of discrimination include: race, age, sexuality, appearance, socio-economic background, level of education, religion and so on.

Gender Pay Gap

This year (2021) the Office For National Statistics found that high-earners experience a larger difference in hourly pay between sexes and the pay gap is higher in EVERY English region than in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland - wtf?!

AND, also this year, the UK ranked a rubbish 23rd in the Global Gender Gap Index - putting us behind so many other European countries (Germany, Spain, France) and countries in other parts of the world that are maybe not perceived to be as 'progressive' as the UK (i.e. Rwanda, Namibia, Nicaragua etc.)

Business Environment

Some religions and countries are not yet accepting of a woman's contributions to business - they may be prohibited from owning a business or culture dictates that they need a man to be present in negotiations or be ''the face of the business'. Everything here is geared up to restricting a woman's participation in serious business matters.

Lack of Confidence

Us women seem to be less confident in selling our abilities for fear of 'bragging' or being boastful - probably a result of all the above! This particularly prevailant in industries that thought of a male-dominated - tech and manufacturing, with women often feeling intimidated about speaking out.

Collaboration over competition

Chelsea Cox Collaboration Over Competition

To say I feel passionate about this total injustice is an understatement. With so many odds already stacked against us, it hurts my heart when I see business babes bringing each other down - because what I see is actually powerful potential for these female bosses to instead direct that fire, passion and intelligence towards something positive, constructive and dynamic.

"The difference between a broken community and a thriving one is the presence of women who are valued" - Michelle Obama

That's not to say a bit of competition isn't good for business! It absolutely is:

  • Keeps you on your toes & stops you from becoming complacent

  • Encourages businesses to keep improving the quality of what they offer

  • Encourages change & adaptability - you can step outside of a crowded market with new ideas and innovations

  • Puts more focus on customer service - to provide an excellent service to keep your customers loyal

  • Education - often we can learn a thing or two from our competition (the same way they can learn from you!)

Did you notice that all of these reasons are positives? And they come from a place of knowledge, empowerment and focussing on what you offer. NO hate, jealousy, underhand tactics or obsessive behaviour required.

So, therefore, I cannot stress this enough - supporting another woman's business takes NOTHING away from your own.

When You Support A Female-Owned Business, You...

  • Invest in women's economic growth

  • Promote gender parity and equality

  • Give women a voice and allow them be heard

  • Join a community who identifies with your struggle

  • Support a dream, just like yours

How Can You Show Your Support?

Women in business

Head to my other blog '10 FREE Ways To Support Women In Business' for 10 simple ways that you can support the female-owned business community. They are easy-to-action, won't take up much of your time and there are plenty of mutual benefits.

Who Run The World? Girls!

Your business is going to thrive based on what YOU are doing, not what others are doing. So why would you not support your fellow business woman? Those barriers I mentioned? She's facing those struggles too, same as you. Show her respect. Let's not make it harder for us to take up our rightful place in the world of business - we are in this together.

In the words of the great Maya Angelou,

"I'm a feminist. I've been a female for a long time now. It'd be stupid to not be on my own side."

FREE Collaboration Creation Online Workshop

Join me for my free workshop - Collaboration Creation. We will be delving into the 3 key steps to successful collaboration, best practice and creating ideas that align with your goals for the year. We'll be partnering up with fellow workshop attendees to discover synergies, build on ideas and see if any of us can work together over the next year, a perfect opportunity to meet potential collaborators!

You can grab your free space here babe.

FREE Business Planning Workshop

Join me for my free workshop - 90 Minutes To A 90 Day Business Plan. I'm going to be taking you through the 3 key steps I take for myself and my clients, to create an epic quarterly business planning framework. This is the ULTIMATE business tool to support you in starting, developing or growing your business.

We're going to be looking at goal-setting, strategy and how you use your business plan as an everyday tool to keep you aligned, accountable and motivated within your business or business ideas.

PLUS, you will also receive a wonderful 30-page workbook to takeaway and use in your own time, this is full of advice, tips, recommendations and resources.

You can grab your free space here babe.

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