Women's Health

Women in Business Through Ages: A Brief History

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Throughout history, women have continually shattered the glass ceiling in various aspects of life, including education and the corporate world. Their journey has been one of remarkable progress, resilience, and perseverance. As we delve into this brief historical exploration of the role of women in business, we’ll uncover the evolution of opportunities, challenges, and achievements that women have experienced.

From early educational restrictions to the contemporary era where women are CEOs of custom dissertation writing services companies and more, this article aims to highlight the path that women in business have walked, celebrating their accomplishments and shedding light on the path that still lies ahead.

The history of female entrepreneurship is a long one. Assur, in northern Iraq, is where the first documented businesswomen were found. Assyrian women of the time contributed to the vast trading networks in the area, proving that business wasn’t exclusive to men.

Many more women are in business today. Margaret Hardenbroeck arrived in what would later become New York in 1659. She began as a debt collector before becoming an agent for business. She traded between Holland and the colonies and eventually became the richest woman in New York.

These stories aren’t as rare as you may think. In the 18th century, women entrepreneurs traded in major cities around the world. There are also many examples of female entrepreneurs who own and run their own business.

Mary Katherine Goddard was the first American woman to publish a book in 1766. Madam C.J. Walker had a haircare company worth a million dollars in the 1890s. Coco Chanel opened her very first boutique in 1913.

In the middle of the 19th century, a shift occurred in the labor force, where women were more focused on domestic duties and men became the only wage earners. These ‘traditional gender roles’ have been prevalent until recently.

In 1973, Katharine G. Graham was the only female CEO at a Fortune 500 firm. In 1973, only 38% of US workers were women. In 2019, this number increased to 46.2%.

Female CEOs now run more than 10% of Fortune 500 companies, which is 53 women. It’s a positive development, but 53 women out of 500 companies is still a small percentage.

Women in Business: The Current Landscape

In the past few decades, there have been at least a few positive changes regarding the opportunities and representation of women in business. What does the present landscape mean for the future, then? We have selected some key statistics, including the current challenges and progress, which could shape future decades.

Statistics on Women in Business

How many women are in business? How many women-owned businesses exist? There have been many studies on these topics. These are some of women’s business statistics that you should know.

Here are the numbers on women in business:

Female Business Ownership:

  • In the UK in 2022, all-female-led companies accounted for 20% of all businesses, up from 16% in 2018.
  • Globally, one-third of high-growth businesses are now led by women.
  • In the US, the share of women-owned businesses relative to all businesses increased from 4.6% in 1972 to 42% in 2019.

Representation of Women in Business

  • In the venture capital and private equity sectors, only 13% of the most senior staff members on investment teams are women.
  • For every 100 men promoted from entry-level positions to management roles, only 87 women are promoted.
  • Only one in four C-suite leaders is a woman, and only one in 20 is a woman of color.
  • The proportion of women in board roles in the UK’s largest listed companies exceeded 40% for the first time.
  • In a Mercer survey of over 1,000 companies in 54 countries, 81% said having a plan for advancing gender equality was important, but only 42% had such a plan in place.

Female Funding:

  • Since 2011, the percentage of venture capital dollars granted to teams of only women in the US has ranged from 1.8% to 2.7% and currently stands at 2.0%.
  • In the UK, the average loan amount approved for female-led businesses in bank financing was around £25,000, while for male-led businesses, it was about £33,000.
  • In UK angel groups, more all-female teams reached the next stage of investment with a 47% success rate compared to their all-male counterparts with a 32% success rate.

The Gender Pay Gap:

  • In the UK in 2022, the gender pay gap among full-time employees increased to 8.3%, up from 7.7% in 2021. Among all employees, the gender pay gap decreased to 14.9%, from 15.1% in 2021.
  • In the US in 2022, women earned an average of 82% of what men earned.

Women in Business: Challenges We Still Face

What’s stopping greater gender equality within the business world? The gender gap is not just about pay, as we can see from the statistics. We have identified some of the barriers we need to address in order to achieve greater rights and equality.

Lack of Funding for Female Business Owners

The lack of funding that entrepreneurs receive is one of the most alarming aspects of data about women in business. The data shows that only 2% of UK venture capital funding is allocated to female-only teams.

Women who want to start their own businesses face many challenges, including a lack in funding and investment. Unfortunately, there is a large gender gap when it comes to funding in the UK and globally. Funding for female-founded businesses dropped significantly since 2021.

Women need to feel empowered to start businesses and not just given the equal opportunity to do so.

Underrepresentation of Senior Roles

Women in business face another significant challenge: the lack of women in positions of authority. There is a lack of women in positions of authority across industries and nations.

By 2022, women will hold 32% of senior management positions in the world. It’s not equal, even though this is the highest ever recorded number.

There are also issues with the gender gap between different roles. In support roles like administration, women are more prevalent, whereas men are much more common in jobs that lead to senior management.

Confidence Gap

There are several reasons why women may not consider or pursue a career within a traditionally masculine-dominated field. Confidence and self-belief are often factors.

Women are less likely than men to promote themselves or advocate for themselves at work. This is usually due to a fear of negative feedback. This is true even when men and women are performing equally well.

Recognizing this confidence gap does not mean that women are not confident enough to pursue their goals. This is a criticism of society – women who are not given the same opportunities and are treated differently are more likely to lose their confidence.

Cultural Changes are Needed

In the end, we need to change how we view and treat women who work in business. We all, from organizations to executive boards to individuals, need to be ready and accountable for enacting change. It means tackling stereotypes, promoting diversity, and creating an environment where everyone can thrive and advance.

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