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Happy International Womens Day

by Claire Martinsen on Tue 08th Mar 2011 16:59

Today is International Womens Day – a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, International Women’s Day is a national holiday….the UK hasn’t got there yet! Here’s hoping one day!

There’s always lots of debate about Female Entrepreneurs in the UK.  The statistics speak for themselves:

  • Female entrepreneurs generate turnover of £130 billion per annum
  • If female entrepreneur Propecia buy cheap rates were to match those in the US there would be an additional 600,000 women-owned businesses generating an additional £42 billion turnover
  • Females make up only 29% of the self-employed workforce, despite being half of the population

I guess I’m one of those females that did go it alone.  There aren’t that many of us that have started a manufacturing/product based business.  At networking groups the men dominate the numbers, so its easy to see that there are far fewer women who start their own business. It continues to be a hot topic in Norfolk, and there is a definite energy to get more female business activity.

I absolutely love what I do – relish it in fact. But why do so few of us choose to start our own businesses?  Personally I believe that its down to three facts:

  • Confidence – Many men seem to have a little bit of ‘gung-ho’ built into their persona, women tend to be more cautious and practical.  Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy – wanting to have everything ‘perfect’ before actually leaping.  To leave paid employment to start a new venture can be daunting to anyone, but even more so to us females.
  • Dual roles – Women are often juggling lots of roles…managing childcare, running a household etc.  It’s tough starting up a new business, but with the other roles on top, it doesn’t make for ease. No wonder lots of us look at the thought of adding yet another spinning plate and decide it might be the one that breaks the camels back.
  • Lack of Role Models – Dragons Den, The Apprenctice et al, have been great at rasing awareness of starting your own business, but perhaps not so great at setting great role models.  The females all appear to be very ‘tough cookies’ and there isn’t much sense of them working with babies around their feet or having multi-dimensional lives.  I think in some respect that this can make starting a business seem even more daunting for us!

That’s just my thoughts – what do you think?

Happy Womens Day at any rate!



Posted in: Women and Business


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