By Guillaume Baey
Entrepreneurs have to wear many masks, the most recurring one being, “I am 100% confident in what I am doing”. This affects both genders, since men and women have their insecurities (even if they don’t admit them).
Yes, men like Bill Gates and Donald Trump also have their insecurities (hopefully Donald Trump’s hair being the biggest one.) After a chat with a female friend, we concluded that men and women feel the same way, but women have feelings of inadequacy which are publicized. So, are women helping to advertise a message that “we feel less than”, all masked with empowerment and feminist rhetoric?
According to a Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2012 Women’s Report (a report which measures the perception of capability in men and women around the world), “women have lower opportunity perceptions [conditions perceived as favorable to create a new product or service] in close to all regions of the world”. This research ended up concluding that women will see barriers and drawbacks, rather than opportunity.
Now, why would women have a lower perception of opportunity? This question is getting more and more important every day, where the number of female entrepreneurs is constantly growing. These women are not only employing themselves, but creating jobs and employment for others, and they are continuously developing and innovating new products and services for the general public.
According to Forbes and their analysis of the GEM 2012 Report, “for the first time, there are seven economies (Mexico, Panama, Thailand, Ghana, Ecuador, Nigeria, and Uganda) in which the rate of women’s start-up was slightly higher or equal to that of men.”
Women are producing these great results, yet they still feel as though they are less capable than men.
So, the big question. Are women perpetuating the stereotype (and thus the perception) that they should feel less able than men, only through their actions and their language? Women entrepreneurs highlight themselves apart by considering themselves “women entrepreneurs” or “female business owners” rather than simply “an entrepreneur.”
Furthermore, women are increasingly successful in today’s society, yet they still perceive that they have a lower opportunity to succeed.
This use of language is setting themselves apart from others, and causing the perception that they are different. By naming themselves as “women entrepreneurs”, they are acknowledging that they indeed are different.
Similarly, through simple searches online, the number of Female Empowerment Workshops speaks largely to the outside community, and simply admits that women “need” to be empowered instantly. This can easily convey a message that women are wanting to be empowered since they show society that they currently don’t feel capable.
Women have lower opportunity perceptions, and they promote themselves as different than men through their language and actions. So is gender inequality undeniably the fault of society as a whole? Or have women deemed themselves as less capable than men?