When it comes to business and the global economy, women are playing an increasingly significant role. In 2014, 70% of those newly self-employed were women (source), and female entrepreneurship is growing at a quicker rate than the males. In fact, according to a new global index, Australia is the second best country in the world to be a female entrepreneur, just behind the United States.
Female owned businesses in Australia are also achieving great success overseas, and it would seem that women entrepreneurs are very quick to embrace global opportunities. Successful female entrepreneurs are helping to change the way women are being viewed in business, and it’s about time. You may find that you can learn a thing or two from these powerful women and how they do business.
Incentives for Change
There are many reasons women choose to start a business. For one, it’s the opportunity to be their own boss, have a better work/life balance, and the flexibility it offers. Sometimes the desire stems from having a great idea for a business or product, or merely to escape corporate management and culture.
Considering the fact that women hold only 25% of key management positions and positions of company boards, it is no wonder that women are looking for ways to make it on their own. Many women in Australia are highly educated but find themselves being held back in the workplace.
Many women that start up a business do so in a sector they have previously worked in. When it comes to Australian female entrepreneurs, we find that 62% are aged over 50, and 78% hold a bachelor degree or higher. This is according to a survey conducted by Women in Global Business, which also found that 37% completed management and commerce qualifications and 28% have children at home.
Changing the Business Landscape
Part of the reason that Australia is such a great place for women entrepreneurs is due to the training available for small business owners, as well as other initiatives. The training is scheduled and delivered in a way that takes responsibilities around children into account. It is also relatively affordable and accessible.
You also have organisations like Scale Investors, who create and encourage female investors in Australia. The company was modeled from Golden Seeds, an American organisation set up to encourage female investors to invest in female entrepreneurs. It was a way to encourage investors in industries that were heavily male-dominated and difficult for women to break into. It all began from the realisation that there was a lack of female investors.
Scale Investors has already seen significant progress since the company began. In 2015, 56% of the 65 investors at Scale were women. This is quite an impressive number when you consider that in 2012 only 2% of the 500 investors in Australia were women. Scale CEO Laura McKenzie, believes the number of female investors in the country could rise to 20% over the next few years.
Women in Finance
According to the Australian Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry, 30% of women in the financial and insurance services sectors experience gender discrimination. Yet, there are some pretty powerful female entrepreneurs in the finance sector that are proving that women are just as capable as men of thriving in this industry.
Sarah Riegelhuth, one of Australia’s leading finance experts, is the perfect example. She is the co-founder of Wealth Enhancer, which is an award-winning financial advisory firm for Gen Y, and League of Extraordinary Women. Wealth Enhancer recognized a gap in the market; realizing that most of the financial advice industry caters to those who are of a certain age and have already amassed wealth. There was nobody out there offering advice to Gen Y, and they were able to build a whole business out of it.
Another great example is Maria, winner of the easy-forex World Trade Series competition. She is just one of Australia’s successful female forex traders. What started out as a hobby became Maria’s main source of income. It’s not just Australia that has witnessed women thriving in this industry. Japan has also seen a rise in highly successful female traders, with women making up 25% of the country’s forex trading market.
While this may seem surprising to some, given the common misconception that women are risk averse, it would appear that women have become more aggressive with their trading throughout the years. This likely comes down to easy access to trader education resources and tools that allow you to learn about forex trading from the comfort of your own home. Women are drawn to the flexibility offered by the trade industry since markets are available 24 hours a day, and you can trade electronically from any location.
The success women achieve in the forex market is put down to the fact that they respond better to a crisis situation and are more likely to stick to a strategy. When you learn how to trade forex, you realise the importance of a successful strategy. While less than 10% of easy-forex traders in Australia are women, the percentage of female traders has increased globally in the last couple of years, from 9% to 19%.
The Bottom Line
If you are a woman looking to succeed in a male-dominated industry, then it always helps to seek out a role model who can demonstrate how you can achieve success. To rise through the ranks, visibility appears to work in your favour. While some women still face gender discrimination in their chosen industry, attitudes appear to be shifting.
Thankfully, you no longer face the same barriers are you did even just a decade ago. In fact, there are now many ways in which entrepreneurs and small business owners can obtain support. Given the rise of online business opportunities, such as forex trading, women have more chances than ever before to build a successful business from home. There is no reason why someone who is well educated, qualified, and determined cannot make it in any industry, whether they are a man or a woman.
Photo courtesy of Huffingtonpost.com