The plight of women seems unending. No matter what you have achieved women are reminded of the patriarchal brackets every now and then. I wasn’t angered but upset for sure when Esther’s Nobel achievement was overshadowed by the statements where she was the wife of one of the other Nobel Prize winners.
Yes, she is the wife but first is her caliber to win the Nobel for her efforts. Facing such archetypes at almost every step of their lives, women are conquering the world with mettle and focus on their own goals.
Let’s give a look at some myths related to women entrepreneurship and bust them right here.
A woman is a better leader than a man, this was the conclusion of a study conducted by the Norwegian professor, Øyvind L. Martinsen head of Leadership and Organisational Behaviour at the BI Norwegian Business School. (sciencedaily.com)
Some might not be overwhelmed to know that the 3,000 women managers selected in his study outgrown their male counterparts. Despite such data, we encounter several ludicrous myths that are related to working women. We will kick out such 20 myths that are related to women entrepreneurs and women bosses here.
Not good in negotiating
When women agree to compromise or adjust, they are being far-sighted and not a week while negotiating. Good negotiating skills are not just about money. It is not about that moment where you decide between a loser and a winner. When you negotiate you also keep in mind the relationship that you would harbor by it which will give you positive and long-lasting results. Harvard Business Review also refutes this myth. Once equipped with all the facts, women can nail the negotiation part, seriously. Just look at any women at a flea market, you would know. (2 hbs.edu)
Women in business don’t make much profit
This age-old myth just like the one where women are bad at maths is always at hand to undermine the capacity of women at finances. This myth was debunked by a social done in 2016 conducted by Peterson Institute for International Economics. The survey was conveyed in 21,980 firms from 91 countries. The study showed that having women at the top of the decision-making structure is beneficial to companies as women try to eliminate unnecessary risks and aim for long term benefits. They might not entertain short term profits and are devoted to future benefits. The approach of women at finance can be different from those of men leaders but not weak in any sense possible.
Women are bad with numbers
This myth has followed me back from my childhood days and in certain ways has undermined my confidence altogether. But women in business are not bad with numbers. The only factor that is responsible for women keeping a distance from numbers is the prejudice itself. Women, when brought up in countries with gender equality, tend to be more interested and good at maths. Janet Yellen, Chairwoman of the Federal Reserve Bank and many other organizations dealing with finances are a slap to these notions. Another popular myth is that women are bad at calculation and has run down through generations. Tell this to Katherine Johnson from NASA (1996) or the algebraic professor Sujatha Ramdorai. I don’t believe that women who go into business are bad with numbers. They are no less capable than men when it comes to calculation. The prejudice has always held women back from numbers and mathematics.
Women are less ambitious than men
In this myth, women are very strategically doubly marginalized. Not only they are less but also lesser than the patriarchal tropes-men. There may be more male leaders in the corporate consortium, but this is not because women don’t aspire to become entrepreneurs. The problem is more complex, women across the world face gender discrimination and are denied the resources first and then are categorized under unambitious workers. The hypocrisy doesn’t end here. When women come out of the patriarchal brackets and achieve something great, society tends to undermine their achievements by asking them whether they are settled or not. Settled in the sense of whether they are going to rear children or not. In India, Sania Mirza who won the Wimbledon Championship was asked on national television in her interview that when was she going to settle? The journalist however apologized, but the dilemma remains the same. So, the problem is not with women but with the liberal patriarchal society in which women are brought up.
Women don’t need to beat somebody to become successful. A person is successful if s/he is on a journey to better their own selves along their path.
Having children slows down a woman’s growth
Again, the patriarchy with its double-faced attitude torn down women between two opposite poles. If she does not have children, she is not settled, or she is over-ambitious to not have kids. When she has children then her career is slowed down by them. This pervasive myth needs to be knocked out for women to grow unapologetically and without any emotional burden. The list of mompreneurs is not small. Motherhood is a choice, not a burden that pulls down a woman. Such Mukherjee, founder of LimeRoad was pregnant with a child when she conceived the idea of e-commerce. Another mompreneur in the line is Jessica Bruce, founder of Run 3D. She recently won £50,000 from the UK government to build a system that helps people walk smoothly after their surgery. She says, “Having children does not slow down female leaders, it simply changes the way we work and manage our time,”
Women are not good with Science and Technology
This is very unfortunate that women are still believed to be a week in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, especially mechanical and Mathematics). I don’t want to do positive discrimination but given the chance, women can outdo men in every field that people think we are weak in. Mary Barra is the CEO of General Motors, an industry that has often seen men at the helm of the mechanical industry. She is leading the world’s largest vehicle makers and faces criticism positively and calmly. The aspirations of women see no boundaries, if she wants it, she will get it. The Internet and advanced technology have surged the pace of creating gender equality in Tech fields. Gender is a social construct and the biological factor of brain cells isn’t controlled by the myths and prejudices.
Female can’t support other female employees
This is a completely absurd myth that runs down in every society. I work at Fuzia, a company that is for the women and is run by women and to be very honest I could not have asked for more cooperative colleagues. My workspace is proud of its aim where women empower women. Women executives are empathetic and support other women without any shard of jealousy. When two women are together, they don’t engage in catfights rather they help each other to grow and achieve their goals.
Women can never grow out of a small business
The capacity of people to demean and undermine women’s endeavors has crossed the limits in this myth. An understatement that says that a business run by women will always be SEMs is beyond logic. Women in business have scaled big companies with giant turnovers and the plight remaining the same. We still have to speak out loud for our rights and acknowledgment of the world. Mind you, that acknowledgment here does not imply validation here. Look at Kiran Majumdar Shaw, Oprah Winfrey, Yang Lan, do their business look like a small one? No. These women entrepreneurs have once again busted these myths.
You are too old/young for this.
You must have heard this “Age is just a number”, but when a woman talks of startups age becomes the determining factor. I say, enough with the hypocrisy. One can start at any age, if they call you too young then tell them that you will learn from your experience and grow in the future. If you are too old, tell them life has given a bucket full of experience and you will use the hat to grow your business.
You won’t have a life outside your office
This myth is a classic one. While this might be the case at the very onset of your entrepreneurial journey but once you have things in place it is not that tough to get a life outside your office. You can prioritize and compartmentalize things and can live as a normal working creature on this earth.
Women are too emotional to run a business
Business is for the wicked. Women are too emotional to handle the deep structure that costs a person’s mental sanity. On the contrary, I believe that the empathetic conscience of a woman is helpful for a company to have healthy employees at any firm. A woman leader can eliminate unnecessary risks involved in a business. Their emotional factor helps them in making long term profits and they excel at harboring good relationships with clients as they can adjust and compromise according to the situation.
Women entrepreneurs lack confidence
To be considered and seen as a powerful and confident leader is often presumed to be loud, cut-throat, aggressive and not very kind. Women entrepreneurs tend to a different approach. The CEO of General Motors, Mary Barra says that in the mechanical field she faces a lot of criticism as well as appreciation. Despite all her power and achievements, she chooses to be calm and humble and maintain her business life along with her personal life through her daily chores, as simple as grocery shopping.
Women aren’t natural salespeople
When it comes to convincing someone women can’t go wrong. Women choose to listen and focus on their customer’s needs more precisely. A salesman would work on the fact that her client is happy down the months with their choice. A happy customer is key to the sales market. Listening is understood to be a crucial part of making a sale — and a 2014 Cambridge University study found that women can be better listeners than men. (gulfnews.com)
Women are risk-averse
Building a business or making it a giant one is all about developing client networks, finding a niche in the market, and failing and learning again and again. The qualities that a leader needs for this knows no gender. Choosing a difficult path for success isn’t always true or required either. The common belief that entrepreneurship can’t be build without taking risks is the basis of the myth, but this should not be specific to gender. Risk value is overvalued mostly.
Banking and CS/IT sectors are the best suitable options for women.
This is entirely untrue, but we all must have heard once in our lifetime that fieldwork isn’t suitable for women. CS/IT sectors or banks are not feminine by nature. Women are also not limited to these sectors. The work environment has improved over the years and women can go in the field and work if they want to. They can be a saleswoman or can build their own business.
Women-owned ventures in industries are unattractive to venture capitalists.
A survey conducted on “Derogatory Myths about Women Entrepreneurs: Is there any Substance in the Myths in relation to Visible Minority Women Entrepreneurs in Canada?” has established that there is no difference between men and women-led industries when the real market is taken in consideration.
The conventional wisdom related to women in business in the workspace is not cent percent true. We might face some hindrances, but they are not to be categorized and generalized in such a manner that they become a myth. Break the stereotypes and trust in yourself, with the right attitude and faith we can go places!