With many females running and working in businesses in today’s world, there are countless challenges faced by women in business every day they go to work. While working in business is no easy task for anyone, there are some gender-specific challenges that are unique to women. Continue reading to learn the top 20 challenges women often face.
Unfortunately, women have a harder time finding investors to help start their businesses than men do. This might be attributed to the fact the men and women are more likely to invent in people who are like them. Often, women are the ones who will invest in other women, leaving only six percent of U.S. venture-capital-funded firms with women partners.
While it might be easy to disregard the negativity from the cranky guy at work, it is harder to push aside cruel judgments from admirable people. It is not uncommon for family members or friends to think down upon a woman in business for not spending all of her time with her children or for trying to pursue a business in a male-dominated industry.
Some men have a very hard time taking orders or suggestions from a woman, especially if she is younger than he is. One challenge women often face is being dismissed by their peers and employees as they attempt to go above and beyond to prove their worth. Women have to learn to be self-confident and disregard the unwarranted judgment of men in the workplace.
Feeling Totally Isolated
In a male-dominated atmosphere, it is easy for a woman to feel isolated from her partners. Even if there are other women in the business, it can feel hard to fit in with men whose interests and habits are often different than her own. Women may struggle with not being invited to events outside of work or feeling like they don’t fit into the office politics.
Although not every woman in business has a family or children at home, it can be very difficult for women to balance their life at work with their role as a wife and mother. It can be very difficult for many women to be separate from their family, and they may struggle with feelings of a being a bad parent or wife if they are unable to be present for special events or significant moments because of work.
Hiding Pregnancy Issues
Working while pregnant could have its own list of challenges. Apart from just feeling tired and nauseous all the time, it can be difficult to perform one’s duties effectively when dealing with the emotional and physical stress of pregnancy. Trying to get male partners to understand how difficult it can be to work while pregnant is near impossible, and it can be difficult for a woman to get the accommodation she needs. A woman might feel afraid to ask for assistance or leniency in her job, and she might hesitate to mention her maternity leave.
Women who choose to nurse their babies after returning from their maternity leave may find it difficult to gain understanding from others, especially men. It can be embarrassing for a woman to request a space and time to pump. If a woman is in a role that is especially vital to the company she might feel like she is unable to leave. People may question her and ask why she doesn’t just feed her baby formula. She may feel conflicted between doing what she thinks is best for her child and performing well at her job.
Although menstrual cramps and other symptoms associated with a woman’s menstrual cycle are often disregarded as a common condition, some women have especially painful cramps that can make being at work almost unbearable. Apart from the fact that it can be embarrassing to ask for time off work because of cramps, difficulties may arise when others expect you to deal with the pain and continue working.
Handling Sexual Harassment
Sadly, sexual harassment in the workplace is so common that when it does happen there is often little done to better the situation. Sexual harassment can be anything from unwanted, persistent advances to rumors claiming someone slept their way to the top. It can be extremely scary and difficult for women to continue with their jobs when they are being harassed in this way. Often, a woman may not know what steps to take in situations like these, and she may feel afraid to bring the issue to someone’s attention.
Working With Women
Although some women make great friends with their other female coworkers, there can be some women in business who see all females as rivals. Having to work with other women who are hostile and malicious can get in the way of production and make work uncomfortable for those involved.
Some women might have difficulty separating themselves from their problems outside of work. Their emotions and stress might be so overwhelming that they can’t perform their job as well. While men can often compartmentalize and get distracted by their work, women have a more difficult time leaving their children and home problems outside the workplace.
Making Confident Decisions
Even the most confident woman in the world will have difficulty trusting in her own decisions when the men around are constantly questioning or criticizing everything she does. It takes time and experience to learn how to drown out the negativity and doubt from others and to assure herself that she is capable of making good decisions and can trust herself.
Strong women in business often have to struggle with being firm and tough with subordinates without being perceived as a bossy, dominant woman. To some extent, women need to just ignore this negativity. However, it can be hard to be productive when your employees don’t respect you. Women generally have to try extra hard to use language and methods that will earn the respect of others.
Women often struggle to deal with criticism from others. While some might say this is simply because they are more emotional or sensitive than men, women in the business world claim they struggle with perfectionism. Having to constantly prove themselves can make women feel like they’ll never be good enough at their jobs. It can be difficult for women to differentiate constructive criticism from gender-based negativity- especially when they often hear the latter.
Fear Of Successful
Again, this only pertains to a specific group of women, but some women are afraid to make more money or be more successful than their husbands. They may fear that their significant other will feel inadequate or threatened by the woman in their life making more money than they do. Because of this, women may limit their goals to avoid too much success.
Lacking Role Models
For women wanting to go into business or just starting in the workforce, it can be hard to find a good woman role model. While there are many successful women out there, they are typically less well-known than their male counterparts. Women may feel like they are stepping into uncharted territory when in reality there are many women who have gone before them and succeeded.
It can be very difficult for some women to be firm and say no when it is necessary. There is a time and a place to be polite and gracious, but there are also many situations where a woman may need to say no to the requests and demands of others for the sake of the business.
Judging Their Appearances
Although all humans tend to judge each other quickly based on appearances and first impressions, women are often judged more harshly. Others often judge a woman’s character by her appearance. If she doesn’t wear make-up others will assume she is unmotivated. If she wears too much make-up she might be perceived as dimwitted or promiscuous.
Trying To Fit In
Many women in business struggle with simply being themselves. When being feminine is often perceived as being weak, emotional, or inferior, women often feel like they need to combat common stereotypes by being more like a man.
When she’s a mother, a daughter, a wife, or a friend, it can be hard for a woman to prioritize the needs of others while still making space for her own goals and ambitions. Even if she does decide to pursue her goals, a woman might feel guilty for not being there for everyone else. While selflessness is definitely something to be admired, some women struggle with finding time for their own health and happiness.
Dealing With Judgement
Women in business face unique challenges in the workforce. While they are dealing with outside forces, they are also working through expectations and self-recriminations. It appears there are no easy solutions.