Although the world of business has become much more accessible and lucrative for women today, a number of damaging myths persist surrounding their place in the office and boardroom environment. Indeed, these unfortunate misconceptions can actually impede a woman’s ability to progress her career and grow her business. As such, we’ve made it our business to debunk some of the most common misconceptions surrounding women in business:
Myth #1. Women tend to focus their efforts on the ‘lifestyle’ sector
Whilst lifestyle companies represent a perfectly respectable way of making money, this stereotype can have hugely detrimental effects for women working in more traditionally ‘male’ sectors such as construction, healthcare or the sports industry. This is because it causes people to question a woman’s ability to handle her tasks effectively and may put people off investing or putting their faith in her company. Fortunately, there are figures available that can instantly debunk this myth. As this recent article from Entrepreneur [link: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/319259] demonstrates, women are now dominating the health, education and recruitment industries.
Myth #2: Women are bad negotiators
It is not quite clear where this harmful stereotype comes from, but it may have something to do with traditional notions surrounding women lacking aggression and preferring to take on the role of family peacemaker. This simply does not transfer to the business world, however. Research [link: https://intheknow.insead.edu/article/seven-deadly-myths-about-women-business] has consistently shown that women are effective negotiators and ask for pay raises just as often as men.
The main difference? Women are simply not as likely to get the raise that they ask for – 25% less likely, in fact.
Myth #3: Businesses owned by men produce higher revenues
According to the stats [link: https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2018/07/05/women-in-business], around 15.5% of both women-owned and men-owned businesses reported static revenues in 2018. What’s more, 9.5% of men-owned businesses were set to see a decrease in value, compared to only 9% of women-owned companies.
Myth #4: Women are bad at handling numbers
Whilst any entrepreneur – male or female – would do well to enlist a bookkeeper to help them with their accounts, it is a fallacy that women are bad at maths. Whilst a knowledge gap does exist between the genders, this has been shown [link: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/national/10math_report.pdf] to be an overwhelmingly cultural, rather than biological, phenomenon.