The role of women in business has been a challenging one historically. Women have had a hard time gaining a significant toehold in the corporate world and continue to be underrepresented in boardrooms across the globe even today. But one segment that has seen some positive progress is women owned and run SMEs.
Stepping into the small business sector has allowed women to gain ground in some unexpected ways. By taking on the role of business owners, women have turned gender norms on their head. They are now taking on a more prominent role financially, both in business and at home, having a much greater say in financial matters and controlling the purse strings. With this role comes renewed respect from men and more opportunities for advancement.
In fact, that increased advancement has been one of the biggest advantages to women owning SMEs. Being successful business owners increases their viability in the corporate world, and in turn this has opened doors, allowing them to further their education and professional training and move their way up the corporate ladder.
Along with the personal advantages they have earned, women who have stepped into the realm of SMEs are not only reaping rewards, but also paying those rewards forward. They are taking the knowledge they gain by being entrepreneurs and using it to help other entrepreneurs. Knowing how difficult it can be to get ahead in the business world, they are helping others learn how to promote themselves and gain attention for themselves and their business.
At the same time, they are providing a strong example for other women and encouraging them to step into business for themselves, thus widening the circle of women in business even further. And this is happening around the world, from the U.S. to Japan to New Zealand, where women involved in SMEs are increasing their numbers every day.
Interestingly, one of the most positive effects that women are having in the area of SMEs is financial. They are proving to be quite successful at starting, running and promoting their businesses. Statistics show that small and medium enterprises owned by women have a slightly larger rate of success than those run by men. Also, women are more effective at using digital media to promote their businesses.
All of this makes women owned SMEs a very good investment. Women have proven to be better at paying back business loans and micro-lenders have taken notice. They are much more willing to reach out to SMEs and provide necessary financing, particularly when those businesses are owned and run by women.
So what does all of this mean for women in business? Simply put, the future appears to be in SMEs and when it comes to owning and running these enterprises, women have the distinct advantage. There’s no reason why women can’t have a big impact on the business world even if they are doing it through small and medium enterprises.
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