The business landscape is changing as we know it – and it’s evolving in all the right places. Luckily for us, the attitudes towards the more ‘traditional’ ways of working are fast changing, and the futures looking bright. Old, stuffy ideas are casting out pre-historic ideologies and making room for a more collaborative and inclusive environment – and women are playing a big part.
According to latest research, 1 in 3 UK entrepreneurs are women, and the biggest motivation behind these start-ups is the flexibility that comes with owning a business. Though, it’s been estimated that if women launched businesses at the same rate as men, 250 billion – yep, billion - pounds of value could be added to the UK economy.
Before we dive in to the nitty gritty, let’s take a little trip down memory lane…
Female entrepreneurship is far from the new societal trend that it seems, it actually dates as far back as 1870 BC! Records have shown that business was definitely not limited to men, despite the social spheres through the ages.
Owning a business as a woman in a pre 20th century society was seen as a ‘last resort’. Why would women want to own a business for any other reason than being a widow or as the absolute final chance of survival? (Cue judging eye roll). Most of these businesses tended to be brothels, taverns and alehouses – a sort of ‘last chance saloon’ you could say!
Although at the turn of the century, progressive ideals spurred on the evolution of the business woman which gave way to a more conducive social sphere. The 1900’s saw a boom of female entrepreneurs which gave birth to legendary business women including Coco Chanel and Madam C J Walker, whose legacies are still prominent in today’s society.
Acknowledging but moving swiftly on from the mid 1900s ideology of a woman’s role – the domestic role to be exact – the biggest shift came from the latter end of the century. Though, in WWII, women were encouraged to work in place of the men who had been called for duty. Yet, a big move didn’t really happen until 1973 when Katharine Graham become the first CEO of a Fortune 500 company. This was completely unheard of and a major women for women in corporate industries. As it stands now, over 500 women are CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies, blazing a trail and crafting the road for advancement. Let’s go girls!
Today’s society brings a fresher outlook on women in business and there are many inspirational business women who are thriving in their field and smashing through those closed-minded ideologies. While the race to close the gender gap in business continues, female entrepreneurship is on the rise, but still needs a little TLC and nurturing to bloom into the most successful (and beautiful) flower it can be!
Access to resources and support groups are in place to encourage women to start their own businesses and ensure their visions become a reality. Organisations such as ‘British Association of Women Entrepreneurs’ work to connect women in business, advance industry and professional knowledge and help polish up the skills needed for success. In addition to this, grants, and monetary advice specifically for female entrepreneurs are widely available across the UK – it’s definitely worth checking out what type of financial support is out there, accept all the help you can get, you deserve it!
The number of self-employed females in the UK has more than doubled in the UK since 1984, and it’s constantly growing. Although, there’s still twice as many self-employed men than women so there’s still a way to go, but also a great opportunity to make your mark in an evolving society.
With the support and advice which is available, there’s never been a better time to become a ‘femmetrepeneur’ in the UK. If you’ve recently started a business or thought of taking the plunge as a woman, this is your sign to go for it and make history! There are so many motivational and inspirational women who have broken down barriers and defied all the odds stacked against them, and they’ve paved the way for more women to grab business by its horns and run with it. Success is only a mindset away and let’s be honest, everything needs a woman’s touch!