Female Entrepreneurs in the 21st Century and Why We Should Look Out for them

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(Illustration by Isabella Bersellini)

The 21st century is a period where women can do things that they were not able to do in the past. Women can vote, be CEOs, run marathons, buy a house and work. In today’s world, we envision all genders having equal privileges and rights and the field of Entrepreneurship is no exception. There have been various successful women entrepreneurs throughout this century — Oprah Winfrey, Whitney Wolfe, Melinda Gates, and Katrina Lake just to name a few.

Even though we are surrounded by amazing women, and we give them the credits for it, globally there is still a great lack of awareness of successful woman should be recognized. It seems we don’t see the work women put on the table as female entrepreneurs. The hardships, the challenges and the current male-dominated industry that is not used to female leaders around the table. Let us give you three arguments about why female entrepreneurs are the vision of the future world, and how they will bring an impact.

They will break stereotypes

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Women have been oppressed and mistreated in the last centuries due to sexism, masochism and misogyny — we have made enormous strides fighting for equality and rights to break the old and discriminative gender roles. Female entrepreneurs are or have to be confident in their own skills, decision making and leadership. Although female entrepreneurs are on par in terms of achievements, intellect and capabilities, they usually still earn a lower salary than their male equivalents according to the World Economic Forum. This is why the likes of Ruth Bader Ginsburg have stepped up and fought their way to equality. We do see outliers when it comes to female entrepreneurs, who actually earn higher salaries than their male counterparts. For example successful women entrepreneurs like Sara Blakely with a net worth of $1 billion, successful businesswoman Tory Burch with a net worth of $850 million and, of course, successful woman #1, Oprah Winfrey with a net worth of $2.6 billion. This is yet another example to show the potential of female entrepreneurs and successful women breaking stereotypes. By breaking gender stereotypes, women can change the overall world view on stereotyping in general (whether that stereotype is based on gender, race or sex) and show that everything is possible if you just put in the work.

Women make better entrepreneurs than men

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Women entrepreneurs are more likely to work towards controlled, profitable growth with relatively little interest in merely positioning themselves for a lucrative exit. They often prefer to re-invest business profits over equity investment to scale sustainably”, according to Sarah Fink, head of research at the Centre of Entrepreneurs. 

Women are known to be more competitive and ambitious than men. Gender roles established that women only belong inside the household doing chores, therefore they nééd to be more ambitious to break this stereotype and play a game of catch up. More than two-thirds of successful women who are currently under c-suite jobs are interested to start a business on their own. While 47% of female entrepreneurs who already have their own business aim to start another business in the next three years compared to only 18% of men. The article furthermore points out that female entrepreneurs are better-calculated risk-takers, they are less prone to overconfidence, they are more ambitious and they take the long term view.

Women succeed despite facing more barriers than their male counterparts 

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As pointed out in our earlier paragraph, female entrepreneurs have to work harder than their male counterparts to make a success of their business. Female entrepreneurs take home twice as much pay as their male equivalents in a study by the Centre of Entrepreneurship. Now that is what we call a successful woman.

Women Beat Men When It Comes to Leadership

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Research from the Harvard Business Review shows that women score higher than men in most leadership skills. While only a baffling 4.9% of Fortune 500 CEOs and 2% of S&P500 CEOs are women, women entrepreneurs are rated as excelling in taking initiative, acting with resilience, practising self-development, driving for results, and displaying high integrity and honesty. They were more effective in 84% of the competencies measured as opposed to their male counterparts. 

Despite big leaps and improvements in terms of treatment, views and thinkings of women in leadership roles, we still see a prevailing bias towards female entrepreneurs. Women are treated inequal, and sometimes even poorly to say, by being rewarded with less income and work-floor discrimination. Female entrepreneurs and successful businesswomen are on the rise, but still have to prove every single day that women, too, can run a business, can be powerful and should not be merely judged on the basis of looks and sex.

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Cover art by Céleste Wallaert

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