Women Entrepreneurs: Challenges Female Managers Face Term Paper Sample
Many communities in the world treat men and women differently, and in most cases men are the ones who are valued more than women, this is what has been referred to as gender inequality. It happens mainly as a result of gender stereotypes of the roles of men and women in various communities, societies and countries (Galvankova, 2013). This inequality in women and men has been established to be a barrier to development. For many years that have passed, many cultures believed that women are only expected to perform domestic roles such as cooking, fetching water and taking care of their children while men are supposed to have gainful job or employment that bring income to gather for their family needs because they are considered to be breadwinners.
However, things have greatly changed thus men and women are nowadays treated equally. Each country is currently under intense pressure to ensure that issues to do with gender inequality are dealt with appropriately so as to bring the desired change and to a greater extent development in developing countries. This gender inequality is more common in developing nations as compared to developed countries where women are treated moreequally with men. The unequal treatment of women has always caused unnecessary suffering to women who have had to endure the challenges they face for quite long as they struggle to overcome them. Although many governments across the world have tried to reduce gender inequality by creating laws and policies, there is still need to focus more on the challenges women go through by ensuring that all those policies and laws are fully implemented so as to fully address this challenge of gender inequality.
Despite the success of various interventions that have been put forth to help reduce gender inequality, and also the fact that there is progress generally in realizing the important role played by women in development which has seen some women rise up to leadership positions and other key roles in governments, there still exist several forms of inequalities. The most pressing challenges that women still go through is the unequal treatment in place of work, violence against women, especially sexual assault and also discrimination. The worst of them all is the violence against women. It should be remembered that many women throughout the world are always assaulted and abused sexually, an example of this type of assault is the one that happened in Delhi in 2012 where many women were gang raped (Xia, 2013). These kinds of abuses and atrocities to women are difficult to forget since they cause great pain and suffering to them. In times of wars also, the most affected are not only women, but also young girls, they are sexually exploited, take a look at what happened not so long ago in Egypt and Nigeria. Many women and girls were raped. All these statistics shows how women are being unfairly treated compared to their male counterparts. (Xia, 2013)
Another challenge facing women and girls has to do with the education. For long, women and girls have been denied the chance to pursue their dream careers simply because they are women. Despite education being a basic right to people in many countries of the world, women are still denied this basic right of accessing education. This partly explains why many women have not been able to improve their economic status as well as their social position and have continued to remain poor for many years. Statistics shows that a majority, approximately 66% of illiterate adults in the world are women,with most of them coming from Africa. America however leads in the number of educated women; research shows that there are many women graduating from various colleges in US in comparison to the decreasing number of men (Xia, 2013). This is a positive indication showing that women are getting empowered in the US, and this should therefore be replicated by other continents such as Asia whose culture discriminates on women mostly. Some cultures in countries such as India, China and other developed countries e.g. Germany highly value boys even before they are born, that’s why selective abortion is practiced based on the sex of the unborn baby. Girls are aborted or born and abandoned because they are not valued. This form of discrimination is very difficult to deal with because it is rooted in the cultures and way of life of the people,the culture that values boys only and neglect girls. Such cultures should be outlawed and people should always be encouraged to abandon such retrogressive and primitive cultures or be prosecuted.
Although there is generally an increase in the number of women who are getting employed and joining the labor force a field that had been perceived to belong to men for long, there still however exists discrimination. They are not given equal job opportunities and are also paid less compared to what men are paid for a similar task or work. This is mainly due to lack of clear policies that protect women from exploitation. Thus women are forced to work for long hours and earn little;this further makes them to remain poor. Legal discrimination is another form of gender inequality that challenges women’s ability to realize their full potential. This is mainly common in the Middle East and some parts of North Africa. There exists some laws that deter women from actively and equally participating in the society, the laws are mainly religious. These laws generally put women at a greater risk or more vulnerable of being subjected to gender based violence (Rushfan, 2008). Such laws are reinforced by family courts that give men more power in decision making. Examples of these laws that discriminate on women are; women not allowed driving cars, access education and also righting to travel. In Saudi Arabia for example, a woman cannot leave the airport for another country unless she has a written approval from her husband.All these are serious challenges women are trying to overcome through the use of advocacy with the help of civil societies calling for amendments of such draconian laws that discriminate on women and violate their rights
At 21st century, women are still struggling to overcome some of the challenges mentioned above. Even in politics, leadership and also their places of work for those who are employed. Women entrepreneurs are not an exception either to those challenges. There are many challenges that female managers and women entrepreneurs face as they strive to battle it out in the fields and occupations that for a long time have always been dominated by men. Some of the challenges are outlined as follows: Work-family lifebalance, women are naturally considered to be home makers and their main duty and responsibility is to take care of her family and children. Many cultures worldwide still hold to this notion or idea such that each and every time a woman sets out to become an entrepreneur, she is discouraged by her colleagues who still hold onto the traditional mindset; such women are always reminded that their priority as women should always be their families (Kamat, 2014). Many women give into such kind of pressure and discouragements to a point of abandoning the whole idea of becoming an entrepreneur instead of balancing between the two i.e. business and family. However, some successful women entrepreneurs have came up with a solution to how to focus at their business while at the same time attending to family duties; this is by devising a way in which they share domestic duties with their husbands. This way, though successful it may be, still faces a lot of criticisms and rejections among many communities, for example in India (Kamat, 2014).
Another challenge facing women entrepreneurs is lack of investor funding for business start-ups owned by women. Although not all businesses that are started need funding from investors to succeed, some that need them and are owned by women always find it difficult in finding a willing investor to invest in the business, unlike if the business was owned by a man (Fallon, 2015).Therefore, women-owned business always experiences difficulties in finding capital for their businesses or firms. Venture capitalists always prefer funding or investing in a business started and owned by an individual of their sex, such that women startups can easily be funded by capitalist firms that are owned by women, unfortunately, such firms in the US make upto 6% only, the rest are owned by men. This shows that there are very few capital firms which have women as partners that are available to fund startup businesses by women(Fallon, 2015).
On management and leadership, women also face a number of challenges. Whereas there is generally an increase in the number of women who earn their income through paid employment, those who progress to hold leadership and management positions are however few (Piterman, 2008).Organizational barriers are one of the challenges that discourage many from rising up to take leadership positions. These barriers are caused by work place relationships and also the process through which these leaders are selected. Those who aspire to be leaders are always mentored by their leaders or their bosses. However, in many organizations and companies majority of those in the leadership positions are always men, many women employees therefore lack someone to mentor them because there are few women leaders at their place of work. This limits their access to someone who can mentor them, since most women would like to have a mentor who is of their gender (Elmuti et al., 2009). Selection barrier can also be a challenge that prevents women from rising to leadership position in an organization or company. Many companies and organizations use the general observation that since there are few women who are qualified to advance their career , they therefore simply conclude that there is no need to promote them(Elmuti et al., 2009). This locks out qualified and eligible women from promotion. However, some women have rose up and overcome these barriers and challenges to become top world renown leaders, both in commercial organizations as well as in politics a field reserved mainly for men in many countries, especially developing nations. An example of such a woman who has become successful in leadership is Margaret Cushing “Meg” Whiteman, an American thriving executive in corporate business having served as the eBay’s CEO in the past and currently as the CEO of Hewlett Packard (HP). She has also vied for the post of governorship in California in 2010 though she did not win. We can learn from Meg Whitman’s success that women are also capable and able to lead thus we should give them a chance to offer their skills and knowledge just like men.
Globalization though it provides growth opportunities for organizations can be a great challenge to female managers (Elmuti et al., 2009). Due to globalization, businesses can easily be established in many towns or countries of the world, this therefore increases responsibilities of top leadership and management of organizations which may even force them to relocate. Female managers with families faced with such a situation may consider quitting their jobs so as to remain with their family and her husband than relocating to her new place of work (Piterman, 2008). However, successful women have been able to remain focused and struggle to achieve their goals by putting the issues to do with gender aside. These women have also helped their fellow women colleagues overcome the challenges they face on their day to day life experiences through forming women groups that they use for purposes of mentoring them (Voza, 2014). They also encourage women who aspire to become leaders in future to remain committed and true to themselves, not to change and act like men so as to fit into a position.
Some women who fought so hard for women rights are Betty Friedan an American activist and writer who wrote a popular book titled “The Feminine Mystique” and also Wangari Maathai a Kenyan activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in the year 2004.The two women advocated for women rights and also encouraged women to rise and fight sexual discrimination. Friedman was the founder of National Organization for Women which was founded in 1966 while Maathai founded The Green Belt Movement. The two women were able to influence masses and changed how women were treated by advocating for fair and equal treatment of women like men. The organizations were at the forefront of advocating for women rights. These two women and many others were selfless and can be described as revolutionists who were quite determined to see women being treated with dignity and respect. They were very instrumental in championing for women rights which bore fruits that are being enjoyed by the present day generations.
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Dean Elmuti, Heather Jia, & Henry H. Davis. (2009). Challenges Women Face in Leadership Positions and Organizational Effectiveness: An Investigation. Retrieved from http://www.leadershipeducators.org/Resources/Documents/jole/2009_fall/Elmuti%20Jia%20and%20Davis.pdf
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Nicole Fallon. (2015). 6 Challenges Faced by Female Entrepreneurs. Retrieved from http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/5268-women-entrepreneur-challenges.html
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Stephanie Vozza. (2014). SOLVING THE HIDDEN CHALLENGES WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP FACE. Retrieved from www.fastcompany.com/3031374/strong-female-lead/solving-the-hidden-challenges-women-in-leadership-face
Yanwen Xia. (2013). International Women's Day: 4 Most Daunting Challenges Facing Women - Mic. Retrieved from http://mic.com/articles/29075/international-women-s-day-4-most-daunting-challenges-facing-women
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