In the business world, bias can sometimes skew unfairly against women. It’s evident in several ways – there are fewer women than men in C-level positions, they don’t receive as much funding from investors as men, and the double standard that says women should take care of a family while managing a high-powered career can be hard to overcome.
That’s not to say that men don’t ever face adversity in business – they do. New dads in the workplace can’t always take the time off like new mothers. Men may feel more pressure than women to be successful in order to support a family.
But women consistently get the short end of the stick when it comes to 3 very important areas of their career: Work and family expectations, investor funding, and the “glass ceiling” that keeps them from reaching the top positions in their workplaces.
This might explain why there are so many women entrepreneurs who leave what appear to be incredible careers in order to start their own business and be their own bosses.
3 Obstacles Women Face in Business
Here are 3 obstacles women face in business that make it harder for qualified candidates to reach the top.
Women face more pressure than men to have the perfect balance of their career and raising a happy family. Men are socially expected to be the providers of the family, making it ‘acceptable’ to others for men to advance in their careers.
For women, it’s socially expected that they throw themselves into raising a family. If they must have a career, they’re expected to have a career and a family.
Women that choose to advance their career may be judged more harshly because of others’ beliefs that they should be home raising their children. Conversely, others think that women who choose to stay home and raise their children are lazy or just don’t have the drive to advance their careers. It’s a Catch 22 for women.
If a woman decides to focus on her career first, she faces new problems in the event she becomes pregnant and has to take maternity leave. It’s also hard for new mothers to take a few weeks of maternity leave and then return to the career, knowing they are missing out on baby’s milestones while they’re away.
Of all the obstacles women face in business, the challenge of developing an “accepted” work life balance (hint: it doesn’t exist) is one of the toughest.
Another hurdle that women have to clear in the business world is the lack of available funding for women entrepreneurs. Woman-led companies tend to get less investor funding, even though research shows woman-led companies bring in an average of 12% more revenue than their male-led counterparts.
Because of this difference and the unfair disadvantages it lends to women, there are organizations that help woman-led businesses to get the funding they need–such as Aspect Ventures and the Small Business Administration’s SBA Resources for Women.
There aren’t many female mentors
Women also struggle with a lack of female mentors to reach out to or connect with. While women are certainly common in the business world, they don’t occupy C-level positions or own their own businesses as frequently as men do.
With fewer women in the pool, it’s simply harder to find someone to connect with and get advice from.
Whether you are male or female, knowing your own goals and how you expect to attain them is key to finding success. Society’s expectations can’t define your life or the path you choose to take. Try to overcome the obstacles women face in business and make the best decision for you, your family, and your business without letting societal pressure decide for you.