The battle of the sexes continues to wage in numerous areas, including the world of entrepreneurship. While the concept of equality always makes for a compelling story, the fact of the matter is that when it comes to women vs men in business, the differences are like night and day. The distinctions are not only obvious to a degree, but backed up by research that compares the attitudes and tendencies of the two sexes. Without further ado, let’s take a look at how female entrepreneurs stack up against their male counterparts.
Women vs Men – The Findings
The National Commission for the Promotion of Equality (NCPE) funded a study that identifies the key differences between male and female business professionals in leadership positions. In addition to the challenges they face, the study looked at factors such as motivation, education and training. This research shines a bright light on the issues women especially, have to deal with in the business world.
If it’s one challenge male and female entrepreneurs share, it’s the struggle of gathering the funds needed to get their business ventures off the ground. 22% of women found that securing financial resources was the biggest hurdle standing in the way of starting a business compared to 33% of men. So do women have access to backers with deeper pockets? Not necessarily. According to the study, it likely has to do with the fact that the business endeavors they indulge in are seen as less complex, and thus require less funding. Females were generally linked to fields such as childcare, fashion, and beauty, while men were strongly linked to real estate, construction, and communications.
Caring for loved ones was also cited as a major challenge for female entrepreneurs. 66% of women found that these responsibilities influence their decision to start a business, versus only 27% of men. The caring component is supported by women who reported starting a business as a way to cope with the demands of family of life as well as those who said they held off on starting their operation until their kids were older.
One of the most interesting elements of the study focuses on the skill and educational background of genders in the business realm. Roughly 15% of all respondents graduated with a degree in the subject related to their business speciality. Women, however, appear to be more willing further their education as 20% said they were open to continuing their training compared to only 10% of men.
Approach to Management
The general perception is that women and men take a considerably different approach to run their business. When questioned about these differences, 54% of respondents initially said there were none. But when prying deeper, researchers found that 46% led on that women are thought to take a more cerebral approach to management, being more careful and taking the time to evaluate things before making crucial business decisions. Men, on the other hand, are perceived as more aggressive and make decisions considerably faster.
There are other studies that closer examine the decisions women and men make in the business arena. According to a recent study conducted by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), these decisions revolved around staffing, reinvestment, and business innovation.
The GEM study found that 112 million respondents employ at least one person, and 12 million plan to have up to six employees over the next five years. When it comes to job creation, it would appear that the SMB sector is leading the charge. In Kenya, SMBs employ roughly 80% of the country’s workforce. The SMB vertical could create nearly 10 million jobs in the U.S. By 2018 – all by women entrepreneurs, by the way.
Women business owners in emerging markets are investing a stunning 90 cents of every extra dollar they make into their human resource department. Strong focus on health, nutrition and education suggest that women are heavily focused on family and community outside of their professional responsibilities.
The GEM study defined innovation as a business delivering new products to some or all of their audience. In regions such as the U.S. and the developed areas of Europe, women were found to be outperforming their male counterparts in the way of innovation.
Males and females may have different takes on running a business, perceived and proven, but one thing is for sure – the landscape is more balanced than it has ever been. The GEM study reported that 126 million women are running or starting a business, while 98 million have been running established businesses for three years or more. What’s more astounding is that this research effort only accounted for 67 of the world’s nations, suggesting that several more women entrepreneurs are making significant contributions to the global economy.
What is your take on this? Are you a female entrepreneur? How have you found setting up your business? We want to hear from you, so please get in touch below and leave a comment!