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Women Turn Sexism into Business Success

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Women are expected to do a lot of things they shouldn't have to do. As soon as you are assigned the female gender at birth, you are handed a set of rules about how to behave and society slaps you with a set of labels and expectations to fulfill. Traditionally, "entrepreneur" is not one of the labels that has been handed to you, but that doesn't mean you can't take it, and thrive.

 

Smaller Investments

The wage gap is already well known, but there is a matching funding gap. It's harder for women to get money from big donors and small business loans for women can be very hard to come by. Women have turned this disadvantage into a statistical advantage by being very smart and thrifty with the money they're given. Having to live on less and with greater expenses all their lives means that women entrepreneurs see much higher returns on investment than their male counterparts. If she can do all that with 75 cents, imagine what she can accomplish with equal pay and lending opportunities.

 

Smile More

In case you didn't know, women actually hate being told to smile more, but it's a message drilled into them from an early age. Irritating as it is, it has trained women to be pleasant even in the face of extreme prejudice. This pleasant faced unflappability is a real asset in the business world.

 

Seize Opportunity

Compared to men, women oftentimes have trouble selling themselves and projecting confidence. Even when the facts are on their side, any displays of confidence are likely to be read as bossiness, overconfidence or "unwomanly," whatever that means and so women are hobbled by society's expectations, discouraged from seizing the opportunities that are right in front of them. It is an unfair advantage, but it can be counteracted with loans, grants and other opportunities that are exclusively available to women. Don't be ashamed to take advantage of any opportunity a man wouldn't be ashamed to take if he could.

 

Support Each Other

Women often have to rely on other women to have their backs in situations that really shouldn't be dangerous but are. A woman being harassed on the subway or in a bar generally knows that they can ask for help from other women, just as her harasser knows that many fellow men will look the other way. Women support each other, knowing that there's plenty of room at the top for everyone and a strong support system means being surrounded by powerful allies of all different backgrounds and colors. The more diverse your company, the less turnover of employees, the stronger your company is.

 

No Pain No Gain

Any woman who's been expected to wear heels to work can tell you that women have an incredibly high pain tolerance. Like many things on this list, it's unfair, but it also means a higher tolerance for the kind of stress and discomfort that often comes with being successful in business.

 

Parent Your Business

Many women have little or no interest in becoming parents, but that hasn't stopped society from training them from an early age how to look after children. Older female children are far more likely to be expected to take care of and parent younger siblings from a very early age, and so many of them become de facto co-parents, whether that is something they want or not. That training as caregiver and worrier-in-chief of the family can be harnessed for business as well as family. Corporations require nurturing just like children do, although it's a very different kind of nurturing and care.

 

Intuition

The idea that women have special intuition is a stereotype that most likely comes from society pressuring women in particular to be constantly monitoring and tending the emotional wellbeing of those around them. Emotional labor falls disproportionately on women, whether it's a burden they want to take up or not. Many women choose careers in areas like nursing, social work or teaching precisely because it involves a lot of emotional intelligence and labor. Emotional intelligence is also vitally important for business. Not all women have this skill, despite the assumptions about "women's intuition" but those who do can also leverage that skill for success in the world of business.

 

Business is all about assessing your resources and putting those resources to maximum use. It's neither fair nor right that women face such discrimination and unequal challenges compared to their male counterparts. However, almost anything can be turned to advantage if you know how to leverage it correctly.

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