The business world has a relatively rich patriarchal history. It was initially led solely by men, and it’s only in the recent century that women could be part of this competitive field. In fact, since the first publication of Fortune 500, an annual list of the 500 most profitable U.S. corporations, it was only 17 years later that women started appearing on the list.
Last year (2022), there were already 46 women who made it into the cut. Although it’s a significant improvement for the women population, it’s only 9.2% out of the 500 businessmen, which shows the margins that people still need to cross for women’s liberation. That said, what are women’s challenges and advantages?
Challenges of Women in the Business Field
Although modern society has improved a lot since the beginning of time, it’s undeniable that women still face several challenges in the business field. A lot of them are still struggling to overcome the conventional minds of a few patriarchs and traditional people. To name a few, here are three things that women still face at this age and time.
Women Are Still Underrepresented
One of the significant challenges women face in the other sectors of the business world is that despite the significant progress, other fields are still less accessible for women.
One of the best examples is the field of STEM because most people are still under the impression that women aren’t capable enough to perform jobs related to science. Thus, job opportunities in science-related industries are still a significant issue.
Another problem that people should realize is that sexual harassment of women in the workplace is still very apparent. In the US alone, there are around 54% to 81% that have reported experiencing sexual harassment at work, while 58% and 72% of victims never reported the incidents. On top of this, half of the women have stated that the harassment has significantly hurt their careers in different forms.
The same happens in Australia. The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) reported that 28% of women had experienced harassment in their workplace at some time.
The best solution that the higher-ups can do is to protect their employees and hire companies that provide IT services. They can handle issues related to the internet (pornography), installation of CCTV cameras, or receiving reports from your employees if they’re too scared to speak up in person.
So, if you’re from Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, or Perth, there are various companies you can reach out to, like Perth cyber security services with Inspired IT. With the advances in technology, companies can have a more proactive way of keeping their employees safe in the workplace, especially women.
Challenge in Being Taken Seriously
In a heavily male-dominated field, women need to work twice as much as men to earn the same level of respect as them. Women’s hardship when dealing with other people in the business world is a constant struggle. The best thing they can do is to prepare themselves by cultivating their confidence and overcoming negativity.
Alison Gutterman, the CEO and president of Jelmar, mentioned that one thing that significantly helped her was attending several women entrepreneur groups, which inspired and helped her grow.
Advantages of Women in the Business Field
Although several people still see women as soft and unfit to work in the corporate world, these women can use their best qualities to their advantage and excel at their work. To help you further understand, here are the advantages of women in this industry.
Women Excel in Essential Soft Skills
Others may initially not consider soft skills an integral part of running a business, but skills like empathy, self-awareness, and communication have increased demand in the market.
In the U.S., women have steadily taken over several fields in industry, not just in business. With 50.2% of college-educated women and 75% of self-employed women present, it’s only a matter of time before women in this country will be more appreciated in other areas. Similarly, in Australia, there are still 47.4% of women in the workforce compared to the U.S.
A partial reason for this is that technical skills related to their job are talents that can be trained to new employees, but soft skills are in nature, and this skill set can’t always be taught to just anyone.
Best at Keeping and Building Social Connections
One of the significant advantages of women in the field is that they present a clearer boundary between life and work experiences than men. According to life coach and author Gail Blanke, women define networking differently than men. Men take social connections as a “straight shot.”
The author further explained that women consider a lot of angles and look into different routes, not just a single straight-lined path. She described this as women’s effort to personalize professional networking, who usually try to establish connections and friendships.
Having Diverse Teams Offer More Varied Ideas
In the business world, diversity is an asset to the company as it helps in fostering creativity and innovation. It’s inarguable that men and women have significant experiences with each other, and collaborating with people with different ideas can shape unique ideas that can help the business company progress.
Additionally, having talented women in business leadership positions can help promote and develop expectations, which also maintains diversity. Continue to provide them equal opportunities as men and make them feel like essential assets to your company.
Don’t just employ women to be diverse, but also show them that they matter and that their skills are essential to the company. Continue promoting them at the same pace as men because women are here to stay, and they are more than willing to offer their services as needed.
In a very progressive society, women will hopefully find steady ground in any industry. It was a challenging road getting here, but it’s enough that it provided them the opportunity to represent themselves gradually to the world of business. With open-mindedness and intention to liberate women, the vision of equal opportunity for women isn’t so far off anymore.