by Lorah-Kelly Beard
“We are committed to using our success and our resources to not only disrupt the industries we are in, but even more importantly the world around us. Successful women can tackle things like climate change, systemic racism, poverty, human trafficking and illiteracy. We believe in using generosity to empower the disempowered.” – Disruptive Generosity, Women’s Business Club Values
YES YOU CAN CHANGE THE WORLD
We believe there is something inside every woman that can and will make a difference to the world around them. Our way of releasing this is by empowering women to succeed in business!
In March we celebrate International Women’s Day, and for one day our news feeds are flooded with celebrations and stories of incredible women. Women are honoured and elevated. Their work and contributions to the world are recognised and celebrated. Those wanting to make a change in the world for other women are actually given the time of day, and companies even decide to show their commitment to women in the workplace.
What a glorious day – can we do this every day please?
The truth is, a lot of this effort is limited to one day a year and with a few tokenised positions in management or leadership for women. One day of support and recognition. Is this enough for us to change the world?
I think we all know the answer. The truth is, before we change the world, we need a platform. We need recognition. We need support. We need opportunity. We need success!
Too many women are feeling ‘stuck’ taking their business idea from hobby to thriving business. Some give up because they don’t believe they have what it takes to build a business alongside a family, or because they feel crippled with limiting beliefs about themselves, battling imposter syndrome or sabotaging their success.
Worryingly, some women have even been ‘chased’ out of business by men (and unfortunately often women) who do their utmost to break, humiliate and bad mouth other women who are trying to make a success of their business.
Women are less likely to believe they possess entrepreneurial skills: Only 39% of women are confident in their capabilities to start a business compared to 55% of men. This is a perceived gap in ability, rather than an actual gap in skill sets. (Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship, HM Treasury 2019)
Women are twice as likely as men to mention family responsibilities as a barrier to starting a business. In addition, for female entrepreneurs with children, primary care responsibilities are the #1 barrier to further business success, with 46% of female parent entrepreneurs identifying it as a “very important” or “important” barrier versus 33% of male parents with businesses. (Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship, HM Treasury 2019)
We endeavour to continue to ‘Break The Bias’ for women across the world. Here’s how we do this in business, and here’s how we, as women in business, CHANGE THE WORLD
Women are more likely than men to think that social, ethical and environmental considerations in business are important. (59% compared with 48%) (A Survey of Social Enterprise Across the UK, DTi, 2005)
The root of so many barriers women face today in the business world boils down to confidence. This is to be expected when it’s still fairly new for women to be equally embraced in business. In fact, you will still often find that some men haven’t quite let go of their old-fashioned thinking, and some have even inherited this outdated mentality without even realising it! It pains me to say, even we, as women, can have our mindset warped to believe that we are not as worthy of taking up the same space as the man across the table from us. But this is what we need to be doing as women. TAKING UP SPACE. And that comes with confidence.
Confidence in our knowledge and expertise.
Confidence in our experience.
Confidence in our delivery.
Confidence in our value.
Confidence in our identity.
Confidence in our excellence.
Confidence in our place at the table.
Confidence in our products.
Confidence in our beliefs.
We have to learn how to be confident in all the things that have historically been handed to men without second thought. I’m sure, if you asked the most confident businesswoman you know how she got to where she is, she would tell you that she worked hard at it. She probably still has to work at asserting her confidence in opposition to remind herself of her place and her value.
As soon as women know how to take their place at the table with confidence, a shift will occur and those biases start to become smaller and smaller. We can break the bias simply by learning to carry ourselves with confidence!
Without business skill and know-how, it’s going to be hard to be successful in business. While the world is craving more women at the top, we need to make sure we have the skill to be at the top! Tokenism is destroying the women’s equality campaign as women are given positions they are not ready for, and therefore failing in! They’ve not been set up to win, they’ve been put there so a box can be ticked to make the company look good. They’re not receiving the necessary support, and their careers are not being invested in. In fact, often when one woman fails, another is called up to take her place. Tokenism means women are given small opportunities, enough to tick that box, but very few really expect them to progress. Women need major investment to be successful in these spaces and we need to be investing in them, but women also need to be investing in themselves too.
Investing in business skill
Investing in leadership training
Investing in speaker training
Investing in their craft and talents
When we are good at our jobs, feeling well equipped and supported, and our businesses are thriving, pioneering and changing the industry, we are in position to bring change to the world around us.
People who have taken up entrepreneurship training are three times more confident about having the skills to run a business. (GEM Special Report: A Global Perspective on Entrepreneurship Education and Training, 2010).
It’s absolutely essential that we as women build a network of women around us. Women who have these networks, or ‘inner circles’ in their lives have been proven to have better success. ¹
Women we trust
Women with aligned values and vision
Women who push and challenge us
Women who are willing to lend a helping hand
Women who share their skill and experience
Women who know the challenges and difficulties unique to us as women
Together we can achieve so much more than we ever could alone. Building intentional community is essential to breaking the barriers we all face. It’s women empowering women, but not just unnecessary fluff and good vibes. We need to be intentional, strategic and we need to support one another to move us ALL FORWARD.
Women were 55% more likely than men to cite fear of going it alone as a primary reason for not starting a business. (Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship, HM Treasury 2019)
We don’t have to do this alone! Get yourself in a powerful community and let’s move forward together.
It’s often said that knowing your enemy is half the battle. Being a woman doesn’t necessarily mean you know exactly what is holding you back. In fact, I’m sure many women have given up because they just don’t know what it is they need to overcome in order to create the success they’ve dreamed of. It’s often not only themselves, as perhaps their employers didn’t know what support they needed to reach their full potential. Maybe the business training they invested in didn’t take into account the specifi
c challenges they would face as a woman in business. It’s even possible they have encountered an unfair bias that has been engrained systemically, and didn’t know that they could challenge it.
Last year, companies founded solely by women garnered just 1% of the total capital invested in venture-backed startups in Europe. (PitchBook financial data platform)
Education is key to breaking the bias for women in business.
Educating decision makers
Educating our children
Educating our peers
Educating the next generation
Once we know what the enemy is, we know how to take it down and make it an ally.
50% of women versus 31% of men say that the most important factor in choosing a career is “feeling like the work I do makes the world a better place/has a wider impact.” As such, businesses with female leadership are more likely to drive meaningful social change. (A PwC UK research report – women in tech report)
Where do you want to see change in the world? Where do you see injustice? Where do you see a better way?
How often do you feel powerless? Do you wonder how your voice could make a difference?
Perhaps you’ve never considered that your life could mean so much more than your here and now. Perhaps your business has so far been a frantic attempt to make ends meet, or a desperate search to find some kind of work-life balance as a parent. Perhaps you are really, really good at what you do, but the success isn’t quite as fulfilling as you thought. What is missing?
Perhaps these questions have never crossed your mind, but I hope that now you are reading this, they will stay with you! We are on a mission, not only to empower women to succeed in business, but to provoke an uprising of powerful females who will make a difference.
Women who disrupt.
Women who rock the boat.
Women who raise their voices.
Women who are confident that their life and their business can change the world.
Among Activists, 55.0% of them are women compared to 39.1% which are men. (Zippia ACTIVIST Demographics And Statistics In The US)
Compared with men at their level, women leaders are up to twice as likely to spend substantial time on DEI work that falls outside their formal job responsibilities—such as supporting employee resource groups, organising events, and recruiting employees from underrepresented groups. They are also more likely than men to take allyship actions such as mentoring women of colour, advocating for new opportunities for them, and actively confronting discrimination. (McKinsey Women in the Workplace 2021)
We believe that if we break the bias for women in business, they will change the world.
“One woman refused to accept racism and refused to give up her seat on the bus one day. This sparked a civil rights movement that we see change being impacted even today decades later.
One women believed so deeply in the educations of young girls that she risked her life to teach in secret, and she was nearly killed my terrorists because she believed so deeply in the importance of education for women.
One woman stood in front of the UN and exclaimed “how dare you” to world leaders, which started a global fight against climate change.
If one woman can stand up or take action to make these changes in the world, imagine what we could do together. Imagine if collectively we could make those changes, impacting world cultures and other women around the world.
That’s what Women’s Business Club stands for. That’s what we could achieve through disruptive generosity.”
– Sarah Eddie, Scotland Women’s Business Club
¹ Harvard Business Review study on new male and female MBAs landing executive leadership positions