Women in business: Opportunities and challenges

May 2022

Women leaders are accomplishing historical milestones in the business world, and there are plenty of reasons to celebrate. But we can’t just stop and rest now. There’s still a long way to go. Just look at the stats, the number of women CEOs hit an all-time high in Fortune 500 Companies in 2021 at 41, but men still make up 91.9% of that list. 

Why should we support and empower women to keep growing and reaching leadership positions? To increase employee satisfaction, raise performance levels, and generate a collaborative nurturing environment. And those are just a few things on our list. Read on to learn about the facts, opportunities, and challenges women in business face today.

Women in business are on the rise!

What are some of the current accomplishments of women in business? What are some setbacks that we still need to work on? As one can anticipate, much research has been conducted on this topic. Here are some interesting facts regarding women in business:

  • This 2021, CEO Karen Lynch made CVS Health the fourth biggest public business in the US, generating a revenue of $268.7 billion. 

A woman leader talking to her team in a work meeting

Opportunities and benefits of women in the workplace

What if women owned as many businesses as men did? According to research by Boston Consulting Group, that would mean more money and more jobs. If the number of women entrepreneurs equaled the number of males, the US economy would gain between $2.5 and $5 trillion. And that’s just one of the many positive aspects that the economy and the workforce could benefit from if we start taking the right steps to close the gender gap. Let’s look at all the opportunities and benefits we could achieve from having more women in the workplace.

1. Women keep employee satisfaction levels high

Women leaders are more prone to keep employees happy, challenged, and engaged and this has been proved in diverse studies. Peakon, an HR insights platform found that employees at women-led companies felt more optimistic about their company’s corporate strategy and mission. This in turn caused them to feel a stronger sense of belonging and want to engage.

Another study by Berlin Cameron, also showed that women leaders provide employees more benefits than male-led companies, such as access to childcare and equal pay. Something that employees find attractive as they manage to balance their professional and personal life.

2. Women bring higher levels of emotional IQ into leadership roles

When we talk about emotional intelligence we are referring to soft skills like communication, self-awareness, and empathy. Attributes that are very common in women leaders. In fact, according to  a 2016 Hay Group study, women were ranked higher by their employees in essential emotional aptitudes such as self-awareness, empathy, conflict management, and adaptability. These leadership qualities are the same ones that lead not only to higher levels of employee satisfaction but increased business performance and revenue.

3. Women-led companies can generate higher returns per amount funded

Even if women face more challenges trying to get funded than men, they generate impressive returns and have even surpassed men in growth performance in the long term. According to a recent study conducted for 12 years, women CEOs in Fortune 1000 drive three times the returns as S&P 500 enterprises dominated by men. Another study by Credit Suisse also showed that companies with women in decision-making positions generate more substantial market returns and more profits than those led by men. 

A young entrepreneur woman and her team

Challenges women in business face

1. Women are still not being paid the same as men

According to the Pew Research Center, in 2020 women in the United States earned 84% of what men earned, with the same qualifications, hours of work, and ranking. This wage gap can cause collateral damage in a women’s life. In fact according to the Status of Women in the US, the average woman worker loses more than $530,000 throughout her life because of the gender wage gap, and the average college-educated woman loses even more—nearly $800,000. 

2. Women are lagging behind in specific industries

Women are winning great battles in industries like retail and professional services, but they are still underpaid and underrepresented in other industries.  For example, in STEM companies (science, technology, engineering, and math), women are only 24% of the whole workforce in the US.  If we want to empower women in business, then we need to incentivize them to participate in these fields too, especially because there are the fastest-growing and best-paid industries.

We recommend: Profitable Business Ideas & Industries for Women Entrepreneurs

3. Access to funding

According to Score’s latest report on Women Entrepreneurs, women are less likely to obtain loans or equity financing than men. When accessing bank loans, women are sometimes not considered “credit-worthy.” If they opt for venture capital for their startups, female founders often feel intimidated or discouraged in the male-dominated equity investment world. Research by Harvard Business Review shows that only 8% of all investors are women.

Many women entrepreneurs opt to dig into their savings or get financial aid from their families. But they don’t have to. Our alternative funding programs have already provided capital for thousands of women business owners nationwide. You can check if you pre-qualify in just a couple of minutes by filling out our quick-only form

Gender diversity in the workplace benefits us all

When we empower women to reach top management roles can give companies a real competitive edge. Women leaders can significantly increase net margins, incentivize innovative processes, and generate higher levels of employee satisfaction. 

Most importantly, when we allow men and women to work side-by-side together we are putting brilliant minds at the forefront to resolve the significant challenges we are now facing as a society. Gender diversity in and out of the workplace can truly benefit us all.