The corporate world was once tightly guarded as a boys’ club. But over the decades, entrepreneurship has gradually been nudging toward equality, and the number of female-owned businesses in the world is steadily increasing. There are several successful women CEOs across the globe today, such as Audrey Gellman. However, despite the promising statistics, women still have to encounter a number of barriers to entry or industry obstacles that makes it extremely difficult to progress in the path of entrepreneurship.
Establishing and running a business is difficult for all people. However, the difficulty level often goes way up when it comes to women entrepreneurs. Audrey Gellman points out that women founders similar to her tend to get less than 3% of the venture capital funds available. This percentage gets even lower when talking about women of color. A number of studies have consistently shown that women leaders as less likely to win adequate funding. Without financial support, female entrepreneurs struggle to scale their companies. Even with all progress made in the society as a whole, a lot of bias and inequality still exists in regards to gender, culture and race, if one looks closely enough. Women have to put in way more hard work in many cases than their male counterparts, simply to acquire the needed finances to keep their business running.
While acquiring appropriate funding is a major challenge faced by female entrepreneurs, it nearly is not the only one. Even though women CEOs like Audrey Gellman managed to accumulate adequate capital to start off their business, they also face a huge pressure of expectations. The pressure to prove that their business is worthy of the high capital investment is incredibly high for women entrepreneurs. Moreover, they also have to deal with a variety of personal obligations as well.
Most male entrepreneurs do not get asked about how they manage their family and business, while this is among the most frequently asked question for female business executives. No one gives a second thought about a man giving more time to their profession and business than to their family. But unfortunately, so cannot be said for women. The majority of women CEOs and leaders are expected to impeccably balance their personal and professional life, and emerge as a perfectionist who can capably multitask. This mindset and unreasonable expectations put a great deal of pressure on women, often leaving them anxious, exhausted and terrified. Audrey Gellman had mentioned that as one of the first visibly pregnant CEO on the cover of a major business magazine, she has been dealing with such expectations and pressure for a long time. While women leaders do try to balance all the aspects of their life to the best of their ability, doing so is not always easy, and it is not at all fair to put such high expectations on them.