Challenges women face in Business
Is it really a challenge for women to be in business? The general consensus may be a resounding ‘Yes’ depending which side you are looking in from. Personally, I believe that it is more of a challenge for the married woman with children, residing in African countries such as Nigeria, which is due to cultural challenges in addition to universal challenges the general challenges faced by women across the world regardless of geographic location.
Looking around, it is possible to site quite a few examples of successful female entrepreneurs, and yes, agreed there are successful women; however, much of these examples are usually found in the ‘female oriented’ type of businesses a woman is ‘expected’ to be in e.g. consumer retail, beauty salons and it likes. I dare say that women are permitted to have such businesses, as long as they know their ‘place’ and are not competing in the male dominated terrain such as engineering and manufacturing. When a woman steps out of the expected status quo, then the challenges become more evident.
Some of the principal challenges women face is usually manifested in the form of ‘perception’; perception as the weaker sex; of being too emotional to perhaps make ‘tough’ business decisions; of a woman’s place being solely in the home; or even unpredictability due to having to take time off when it comes to giving birth.
Fair enough that physically, women are not usually as strong as men, but when is comes to the task of managing a business, is the requisite be that of physical strength or that of mental strength? Perhaps women might be emotional, but then again are we not all emotional. When a man shouts, gets frustrated or storms off, is that in itself not a display of emotion. In the world of business, strength does not necessarily lie in the physical, but in the mind; wisdom to make the right decisions, knowledge to profit, and the ability to be both visionary and innovative.
Another added challenge facing women is their changing role in the society; and her ability to manage the multiple roles and responsibilities of both the home and business. The role of the woman has fast evolved all over the world, and in many cases it has not always been due to the woman’s desires, but circumstances. Women have learnt that they can’t always depend on the man to be the sole bread winner due to varying eventualities such as death of the husband or even divorce, which have sometimes lead to a sudden lack of finances. There is also the rise in cost of living, which usually requires the additional income of the woman to help sustain the home.