Much has been said about the fact that today, women are a force to be reckoned with in the business world. However, women are still subject to old stereotypes and misconceptions. Unfortunately, a lot of common misconceptions surrounding women’s place (and capacity for success) in business still exist today
In the Fortune India 50 rankings as well, only one organization (SAIL) has a female at the helm, as of 2020. In 2019, just 29 (6%) Indian Fortune 500 companies had women leaders with executive powers. While the percentage of executive positions held by women is increasing, progress still needs to be made. Globally, women hold just 24% of senior leadership positions.
Have we ever wondered about what prevents women from reaching the zenith in their entrepreneurial journey or winning the highest glory in leadership roles? It is the myths which have surrounded them from time immemorial. The society which has unfortunately, predominantly been ‘male-dominated’, refuses to have faith in the abilities of women; but they fail to understand that the hands which can rock the cradle, can as much rule the world!
For women, shattering myths about their abilities and skills is all in a day’s work. Here are four common women in business myths debunked:
Women and technology are poles apart!
COVID-19 has pushed companies over the technology tipping point—and transformed business forever. Under such circumstances, it is important for entrepreneurs to be digitally skilled. Hence, in response to the rapid digitisation, women leaders such as, Rekha M. Menon, chairman and senior managing director of Accenture in India are not only taking the digital route but are also helping other companies to migrate to a digital world.
Male-led businesses create more revenue
It is a misconception that male-led ventures rake in more revenue than women-led businesses. It is one of the most common ‘women in business’ myths. Indeed, there is still a great deal of inequality between the number of men and women in leadership positions, but women are now displaying true entrepreneurial steaks and are aiding in reactivating and uplifting the economy. Female-led organizations are more profitable, perform better, and have higher profit margins compared to male-led companies and these economic benefits are translating into profits of up to $1.8 billion globally. Furthermore, organizations that are establishing a culture of diversity are finding success. In fact, recent research from McKinsey shows that gender-diverse businesses are 15% more likely to outperform financially above the industry median.
Gender equality is a reality…..really???
Believing that gender equality is no longer an issue is one of the most dangerous myths. There’s a strong belief among men in the workplace that women have achieved a level playing field; but, that is a myth. According to studies, more than one-third of women believe their gender has held them back from a promotion, while only 8% of men say the same thing. Not only is it harder for women to advance their careers, but they face significant pay disparities. Barriers still exist when it comes to promoting gender equality.
Entrepreneurship Is for Women in Their 20s
We tend to think of entrepreneurship as a young person’s game. The perceived pressure to achieve landmark accomplishments early in life is even more intense for women, who are subjected to messages that youth is tied to their intrinsic value. Doubtlessly, building a business is hard. However, every entrepreneur must start somewhere. There is no magic shortcut to building a good business and it doesn’t matter when you start or where you start your journey.
Women-owned businesses are mostly “lifestyle” businesses
Lifestyle businesses are businesses run for the purpose of sustaining a certain level of income and no more, with little focus on growth or revenue success. Although women own a major chunk of lifestyle businesses which are rapidly growing, but women are also more likely than men to start businesses in the healthcare and education industries. Studies suggest that 19% of women-owned businesses operate in the service industry, compared to the 15% of men-owned businesses that do. For instance, Dr Florida Tilton, founder of Biozone Research Technologies has been awarded the ‘All India Women Entrepreneur Award 2018’, by Delhi Management Association. She is one of the women entrepreneurs in India who has taken the path of science to build her entrepreneurial empire. She one of the most successful women in India in her field. So, women entrepreneurs know more than you think they do!
Kiran Majumdar Shaw, Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Sunita Reddy, Rekha .M. Menon and Mallika Srinivasan are few of India’s most powerful women in business who are making an impact by virtue of their business acumen and social and cultural influence. Today, there are more women in the labour force, more women earning degrees, and more female entrepreneurs than ever before. Chalo India, Barho India!