Professional Development

Debunking six myths about female entrepreneurs

Written by Guest Contributor

Female entrepreneurs are the backbone of their communities. They launch startups, push for industry growth, and contribute in other countless ways to the global economy. Despite all of that, they face many challenges. They battle for business capital, balance work, and life, make friends with a fear of failure and grow communication skills to network for their businesses.

According to a 2016 report from State of Women-Owned Businesses women own about 11 million businesses in the United States and generate over $1.6 trillion in revenues, employing nearly 9 million people. Given that there were only 8 million women-owned businesses in 2012, there’s a lot of growth happening.

But regardless of their success, women entrepreneurs still face gender bias and stereotypes. Some are so weird to hear today, in the 21st century, and yet they flourish. It’s time to debunk and put an end to these six myths about women entrepreneurs.

1. All female entrepreneurs end up old maids

A popular belief is that businesswomen don’t want to build a family. If you are 30-35 and you build a career rather than look for relationships, you’ll definitely end up an old maid.

The reality is that fears to stay single by the age of 50-60 are reasonable for 7% of women only. Modern women aren’t in a hurry to get married and have kids, but it doesn’t mean they don’t want it and won’t do that.

2. Women are less ambitious than men

There’s still a pervasive theory that women aren’t ambitious and they lower career goals with age and motherhood. But according to Boston Consulting Group, this myth doesn’t have any merit. They surveyed over 200 thousand women from 189 countries, and the results surprised the researchers themselves.

First, women start careers with even more ambition than men. Second, their ambition isn’t influenced by age or marital status but rather company culture. The more open and friendly a company is, the less there is an “ambition gap” between genders. And third, researchers found that people after 40 become less ambitious in general regardless of gender.

3. Women are less career-focused after children

This myth is the same old soup just reheated. It says that once a woman becomes a mother, she stops thinking of career and prefers spending time with kids at home.

According to the same survey, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Children “don’t affect a woman’s desire to lead.” With or without kids, women scored the “importance of leadership opportunities as a job attribute” prompt highly regardless of their age.

4. Women are way more emotional

Your emotions depend on personal traits and character building rather than gender. In a 2014 study conducted by the neurobiologists at Mindlab, they found that men are just as emotional, if not more so than women, they’re just far better at hiding it.

Neuropsychologist, and director of Mindlab, Dr. David Lewis states, “We tend to oversimplify and exaggerate the perceived differences between men and women and are more likely to focus on evidence that supports our existing gender stereotypes. This study suggests that men feel emotion just as much as women, sometimes more strongly, but are less willing to express these emotions openly due to expectations put on them by society.”

That said, the word “emotional” has a bad reputation, but it shouldn’t. Emotional intelligence is a must-have skill today, and most companies try hard to grow it in their organizations.

5. Women aren’t competitive

This myth’s supporters say that females aren’t that competitive because of the lack of testosterone. But don’t you think life would be so much more primitive today if we explained all of our decisions as nothing more than hormones?

During an experiment conducted in a Swedish school, researchers aimed to test the competitiveness of boys and girls. Their study found no difference in their overall competitiveness. Regardless of a task type, – researchers tried both “male” and “female” activities – children of both genders competed equally and demonstrated the same level of involvement.

6. Female entrepreneurs hate other women

We’ve all heard of the Queen Bee syndrome, first described by researchers in 1970s. This “syndrome” states that most females practice a form of misogyny towards other women, emphasizing own their own “masculine” attributes and undermining their women colleagues. In other words, they demean other females in favor of male co-workers.

Today we know better than to believe in fake afflictions. The research from Catalyst finds that 73% of female entrepreneurs support the career development of their women colleagues, compared to 30% of men.

Women are natural born leaders. They start companies, set goals, and manage large staffs. They are just as ambitious, responsible, emotionally intelligent, and results-oriented as their male counterparts. Rather than fighting the idea of the female entrepreneur and leader, let’s take this International Women’s Month to uplift and celebrate women who are breaking molds and fighting stereotypes every single day. Let’s learn from the best to become the best, and support the advancement of women everywhere.

About the Author:
Lesley Vos is a professional web writer and career strategist from Chicago. A regular contributor to publications on business, marketing, and self-development, Lesley also blogs for Bid4papers, writes a non-fiction book on her hobby, and shares writing advice with peers willing to grow their skills. Feel free to contact Lesley on LinkedIn.

About the Editor:
Amanda Nunez is a Digital Marketing professional and editor located in Manhattan. A graduate of Rutgers University, she presently spends her days as a Digital Marketing Coordinator at PandoLogic and as Chief Editor of TheJobNetwork blog. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn.

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