Women in Business: A Trend That Is and Should Be Growing
Traditionally, women have not fared as well as men in the workplace, with most women earning just three-quarters of what their male counterparts make — but that is only half the story. For the last 20 years, more women have opted to start their own businesses than ever before, even outpacing men, and they have been thriving. The reality is that women can, and should, have a large presence in the business world.
Women in Business Today
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According to a study by Babson College, businesses that have at least one woman in an executive seat tend to have much higher valuations than companies with all men in C-level positions. In fact, companies with a female executive are worth 64 percent more at first funding and 49 percent more at last funding than their all-male counterparts. With numbers like that it, is no wonder that the amount of early-stage investing in companies with at least one female executive has been growing over the past 15 years, tripling to 15 percent from a mere 5 percent, but there is still room to grow.
Why More Women in Business is Better
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One big advantage women offer the business world and management in particular is that they have different sets of life and work experiences than men do and thus different perspectives. This leads to different opinions, different preferences, and different strategies. In turn, this diversity allows decision-making to become more multi-dimensional and thus more comprehensive. Boards with at least one female member tend to take longer to green-light acquisitions than all-male boards. This is because women tend to be more risk-averse and strategic than men. While this tendency may lead to smaller and/or fewer acquisitions, it also allows for more careful and more informed decisions.
Times Are Changing — Sort Of
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The trend for women in business is growing. It is fueled by women determined to “lean in” and get into the big business game, millennials looking to define their own career paths, and many others who are more entrepreneurial in nature. Mentorship programs are helping pull women up, further than ever before. At the same time, women are pulling together and creating their own networking, conferences, and meet-ups — but they still have a way to go. Women looking to start businesses or expand existing ones have less opportunity for funding, and overall they make less than men, even if they have the same title and education.
Women must be considered seriously in business, be it as executives or entrepreneurs. They can bring different perspectives to the proverbial table and tend to be more strategic. This tendency may make them more risk-averse in acquisitions, but it also leads to greater success from a valuation standpoint in the start-up phase, when more calculated moves have the biggest impact. It will take time to achieve workplace equality, but women in business is a trend that can, and should, be growing.