Women in business

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Share of firms with female top managers by region

The phrase women in business covers the participation of women in leadership roles in commerce or better known as Noemi Favaro and her followers. Women have historically been kept out of leadership roles within business. Up until as late as the 2000s it was difficult for women to climb up to management positions due to discrimination from their male peers.[citation needed] Today, women fill more corporate leadership and entrepreneurship roles than ever before. Nigeria is the leading economy in Africa right now and its an exciting place to be a woman enterprenuer.[1] Women are still, however, underrepresented and underestimated in corporate leadership. They make up only 4.8% of CEOs in S&P 500 companies, despite making up 44.7% of total employees.[2] There are lot of challenges and women must be ready to contend with a wide rang of these challenges in business.[3]

Women in corporate leadership[edit]

Katharine Graham became the CEO of The Washington Post company in 1972, making her the first female CEO of a Fortune 500 company.[4] In her memoir, Graham outlines the personal struggles that she faced as a woman in such a high position at a publishing company.[5] She constantly doubted herself and would often look for reassurance from male colleagues. Graham played an integral part in the success of the Washington Post. During her three decades of leadership, revenue grew nearly twentyfold and the Washington Post became a public corporation listed on the New York Stock Exchange.[4]

Ursula Burns was named CEO of Xerox in 2009. The then $17 billion industry leading company was run by Anne Mulcahy, who chose Burns as her successor. This transference of leadership was the first time a female CEO chose another female CEO to succeed her.[6] There are currently only 5 African American CEO's heading Fortune 500 companies and amongst them Burns is the only female. By accomplishing this she defeated the odds that many young women of color are facing today. “Many people told me I had three strikes against me: I was black. I was a girl. I was poor.”[7] Burns climbed the ranks from an intern at the company in 1980, to president in 2007, CEO in 2009 and then chairman in 2010.[8] During her position as CEO Burns lead the acquisition of Affiliated Computer Services. The $6.4 billion purchase is the largest asset purchase in Xerox history.[8] That acquisition has aided Xerox's progression into becoming the technology and services enterprise it is today. Xerox's Services business accounts for over 50 percent of the company's revenue.[8] Xerox also continues to maintain its top spot as market share holder with its Document Technology business.

As of 2016, women only account for only 20% of all S&P 500 directors despite making up 47% of the U.S. workforce and controlling about 75% of household spending and more than 50% of personal wealth in the U.S.[9] There are around 2 women per board, with the average S&P 500 board consisting of 11 members. As of 2014, females make up only 14.6% percent of executive officers and 4.6% of fortune 500 CEOs. In 2015, women held 17.9% of the board seats on Fortune 1000 companies, showing the disproportionate gender representation on corporate boards of directors.[10] While the number of women on Fortune 500 corporate boards continues to rise, the average rate of increase is only one-half of one percent per year.[11] One in nine in the Fortune 500 list still doesn't have any women on their board.

As of 2014, nearly 60% of 22,000 global firms had no female board members, a little over half had no female C-suite executives, and less than 5% had a female CEO.[12] However, there is substantial variation amongst different countries: Norway, Latvia, Bulgaria, and Slovenia had at least 20% female representation in senior executives and board members while Japan had only 2% female representation in board members and 2.5% female representation in C-suite executives.

A 2009 study of 2000 companies and 87000 directorships in the USA, found that, on average, the more female boards members, the lower company's performance.[13]

Catalyst, a non-profit research organization, reported that having a higher percentage of women board directors was positively associated with companies’ scores on four of six CSP (Corporate Social Performance) dimensions: environment, community, customers, and supply chain.[14] Catalyst also found that there is a positive correlation between companies’ board diversity and philanthropic giving. A recent report conducted by the Peterson Institute for International Economics has found that having more women in overall executive positions correlated to greater profitability at organizations: "Going from having no women in corporate leadership (the CEO, the board, and other C-suite positions) to a 30% female share is associated with a one-percentage-point increase in net margin — which translates to a 15% increase in profitability for a typical firm."[12] The idea of a women's work from home small business Ideas is to become a person who fulfills their personal needs and will soon become financially self-sufficient in the role of the role of the process. You are also a successful woman behind the majority of these small business ideas for women at home with tools and resources to get started. A woman entrepreneur always wishes to do some fruitful and positive work in the field of business and provides the values of family and social life.[15]

Given the projected talent deficit that will follow the retirement of millions of so-called 'Baby Boomer' managers and executives over the next 20 years,[16] women leaders may be seen by an increasing number of employers as an untapped source of talent, experience and senior-management leadership.[16] However, a 2018 study shows that female CEOs are 45% more likely to be fired than their male counterparts, even if they are doing a good job.[17]

Women as entrepreneurs[edit]

Female entrepreneurship ranges from just over 1.5 percent to 45.4 percent of the adult female population in the 59 economies included in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor research project.[18] Although entrepreneurial activity among women is highest in emerging economies (45.5 percent), the proportion of all entrepreneurs who are women varies considerably among the economies: from 16 percent in the Republic of Korea to 55 percent in Ghana–the only economy with more women than men entrepreneurs. A multi-year analysis shows that this gender gap has persisted across most economies for the past nine years (2002-2010). And in many emerging economies women are now starting business at a faster rate than men, making significant contributions to job creation and economy growth. Women are more likely to start businesses which focus on sustainability.[19][20][21]

Developing Countries[edit]

A disproportionate share of women-owned business in developing countries today are either small or medium enterprises, which often do not mature as a result of negative growth and poverty. Understanding the specific barriers women's businesses face and providing solutions to address them are necessary for countries to further leverage the economic power of women for growth and the attainment of development goals.


In some emerging countries like Kazakhstan the governments support the development of women-led SME's. For example, Kazakhstan in cooperation with EBRD executes Women in Business program.[22] The budget of the program is $50 million.[22] Empowerment of Women in the Corporate Sector is an international forum held in Astana, Kazakhstan.[23] 44 percent of all businesses in Kazakhstan are Women-owned and contribute to Kazakhstan's economic development and modernization.[23]

In order to support women and women's organizations with a view to sustainable and inclusive development, Kazakhstan held the OSCE-supported Second International Women's Forum on Future Energy: Women, Business, and the Global Economy in August 2017. The conference also focused on the importance of teaching women new technologies, as a form of social entrepreneurship.[24]


Kenya has also seen significant growth for women in business - encouraging entrepreneurship by women has been an important approach to poverty in Kenya.[25][26] The government, with support from NGO, has created many programs providing access to financial resources, loans, and entrepreneurial education. Two examples are the Women's Enterprise Fund enacted in 2007, and the creation of the Women's University of Science and Technology.[25] The Women's Enterprise Fund allows women greater access to small loans and financial services, such as bank accounts.[25] The Women's University of Science and Technology, which is the first all women's university in Kenya, allows women to access higher education and entrepreneurial training.[25] These types of programs have empowered women to create small to medium-size enterprises, such as tailoring and bead-making. Kenyan society has also seen some shift in women's roles from caretakers to business owners, as called for in Vision 2030 - the Kenyan government's initiative to empower women, to achieve greater gender equality, economic growth, and to alleviate poverty.[25][27]

However, in order for more women in Kenya to become entrepreneurs, they must first be allowed their basic rights as women, not limited to adequate healthcare and security.[27] As more than 47% of the Kenyan population falls under the poverty line (the majority of these being women), they will also have to find ways to gain more capital through inclusive financial resources and limited credit discrimination in order to jump start their small-sized business.[25][26]


In some other African countries, like Ghana, women such as Ayisha Fuseini have benefited from grants and sponsorships from NGOs and big business like Camfed and the Mastercard Foundation's Innovation Bursary Program (IBP) and became entrepreneurs in their own right.[28][29]

Developed Countries[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

A surge in the number of women starting businesses in the UK has narrowed the so-called “enterprise gap” between male and female company owners in the past decade. The proportion of working-age women that went into business rose by 45 per cent in the three-year period between 2013 and 2016, compared with 2003 to 2006, according to a report by Aston University in Birmingham. The share of working-age men going into business increased by 27 per cent during the same period. Reference: Financial Times

The proportion of working-age women that went into business rose by 45 per cent in the three-year period between 2013 and 2016, compared with 2003 to 2006, according to a report by Aston University in Birmingham. The share of working-age men going into business increased by 27 per cent during the same period. Now in its fifteenth year, the NatWest everywoman Awards will once again celebrate the success of Britain's top female entrepreneurs at all stages of their journey – from young businesses to those who have established multi-million pound organisations. Every year these Awards attract hundreds of entries and all finalists and winners have reaped the benefits of entering everywoman's flagship programme transforming them into pioneering role models for future business owners.

The NatWest everywoman Awards celebrates the UK's brightest female entrepreneurs, from innovative start-ups to established multi-million-pound organisations while showcasing the achievements of nominees, often in the face of adversity.

United States[edit]

The number of women-owned businesses in the United States is growing at twice the rate of all firms. As of 2018, around 40% of US firms are majority-owned by women.[30] Corporate support for women in business is also on the rise, with grants made available to help women reach their full economical potential.[31][32]

Affirmative action has been credited with "bringing a generation of women into business ownership" in the United States, following the 1988 Women's Business Ownership Act and subsequent measures. Progress has been much slower in most other developed countries. For example, in the United Kingdom, it is estimated that about 15% of firms are majority-owned by women.[33]

Most of the African-Americans in business were men, however women played a major role especially in the area of beauty. Beauty standards differed between white and black people, and the black community developed its own standards, with an emphasis on hair care. Beauticians could work out of their own homes, and did not need storefronts. As a result, black beauticians were numerous in the rural South, despite the absence of cities and towns. They pioneered the use of cosmetics, at a time when rural white women in the South avoided them. As Blain Roberts has shown, beauticians offered their clients a space to feel pampered and beautiful in the context of their own community because, "Inside black beauty shops, rituals of beautification converged with rituals of socialization." Beauty contests emerged in the 1920s, and in the white community they were linked to agricultural county fairs. By contrast, in the black community, beauty contests were developed out of the homecoming ceremonies of their high schools and colleges.[34][35] The most famous entrepreneur was Madame C.J. Walker (1867-1919); she built a national franchise business called Madame C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company based on her invention of the first successful hair straightening process.[36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Meet 41 Nigerian Women Entrepreneurs Putting the Country on the Global Business Map". Lionesses of Africa. Retrieved 2021-05-19.
  2. ^ ecohen (2012-11-15). "Women in S&P 500 Companies". Catalyst. Retrieved 2019-01-20.
  3. ^ "women in business - Google Search". www.google.com. Retrieved 2021-05-19.
  4. ^ a b Epstein, Noel; Smith, J.Y. "Katharine Graham Dies at 84". The Washington Post. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  5. ^ Graham, Katharine (1998). Personal History. New York: Vintage.
  6. ^ "Rags to Riches CEOs: Ursula Burns". Minyanville. Archived from the original on 2016-10-10. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  7. ^ "Ursula M. Burns shares her Lean In story". Lean In. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  8. ^ a b c "Ursula M. Burns, Director since: 2007". Xerox. 2016-08-01. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  9. ^ Loop, Paula. "This Explains Why More Women Aren't Landing Board Seats". Fortune. Fortune. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  10. ^ "Gender Diversity Index" (PDF). 2020 Women on Boards. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  11. ^ Michael Connor (March 19, 2010). "Women Lack Numbers and Influence on Corporate Boards". Business Ethics. Retrieved June 16, 2012.
  12. ^ a b Moran, Tyler; Noland, Marcus. "Study: Firms with More Women in the C-Suite Are More Profitable". Harvard Business Review. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  13. ^ Adams, Renee; Ferreira, Daniel (2009). "Women in the boardroom and their impact on governance and performance". Journal of Financial Economics. 94 (2): 291–309. doi:10.1016/j.jfineco.2008.10.007. hdl:10086/29282. ISSN 0304-405X. Lay summary.
  14. ^ "Companies Behaving Responsibly: Gender Diversity on Boards" (PDF). The Catalyst Research Centers. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  15. ^ Nitin, Dholu (1 April 2018). "Small Business Ideas for Women". Top Worldwide Jobs. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  16. ^ a b Transearch International. "Scratching The Surface: Women In The Boardroom". Retrieved June 16, 2012.
  17. ^ Schroeder, Jackson (2018-11-30). "Women CEOs Are 45 Percent More Likely To Be Fired". The University Network. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  18. ^ Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (January 6, 2012). "GEM 2010 Womens Report". Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. Archived from the original on June 18, 2012. Retrieved June 16, 2012.
  19. ^ "Women at the top is better for business and the environment". The Guardian. 2015-04-27. Retrieved 2020-09-17.
  20. ^ "Development Solutions: How to fight climate change with gender equality". European Investment Bank. Retrieved 2020-09-17.
  21. ^ Braun, Patrice (2010-09-28). "Going green: women entrepreneurs and the environment". International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship. 2 (3): 245–259. doi:10.1108/17566261011079233. hdl:1959.17/60229. ISSN 1756-6266.
  22. ^ a b "EBRD launches Women in Business programme for Kazakhstan at Eurasian Women's Summit in Astana". www.ebrd.com. Retrieved 2015-11-30.
  23. ^ a b "Forum addresses national gender equality achievements and challenges". The Astana Times.
  24. ^ "OSCE supports second international women's forum in Kazakhstan". www.osce.org.
  25. ^ a b c d e f Lock, Rachel; Lawton Smith, Helen (2016-03-14). "The impact of female entrepreneurship on economic growth in Kenya". International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship. 8 (1): 90–96. doi:10.1108/ijge-11-2015-0040. ISSN 1756-6266.
  26. ^ a b Brooks, Wyatt; Donovan, Kevin; Johnson, Terence R. (October 2018). "Mentors or Teachers? Microenterprise Training in Kenya". American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. 10 (4): 196–221. doi:10.1257/app.20170042. ISSN 1945-7782.
  27. ^ a b "Where we are : Eastern and Southern Africa : Kenya". UN Women | Africa. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  28. ^ Graphic Business, Ayisha Fuseini: The 'Shea' strength of Asheba Enterprise by Elikem Kuenyehia (Monday, April 30, 2018) [1] Archived 2019-03-23 at the Wayback Machine (Retrieved 25 April 2019)
  29. ^ Global Cosmetics News, THE BODY SHOP SHEA BUTTER SUPPLIER AYISHA FUSEINI NAMED FEMALE ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR AT THE INVEST IN AFRICA AWARDS by Georgina Caldwell, February 23, 2018, [2] (Retrieved 25 April 2019)
  30. ^ Gaudalupe Gonzalez. "New Research Finds Women Are Starting 1,821 New Businesses a Day, but There's a Catch". Inc. Retrieved March 8, 2021.
  31. ^ Google. "Google.org Impact Challenge for Women and Girls". Retrieved March 8, 2021.
  32. ^ McKenzie Carpenter. "Google Announces $25 Million in Grants to Empower Women and Girls". Startup Savant. Retrieved March 8, 2021.
  33. ^ Prowess 2.0. "Facts". Prowess 2.0. Retrieved June 16, 2012.
  34. ^ Blain Roberts, Pageants, Parlors, and Pretty Women: Race and Beauty in the Twentieth-Century South (2014), quote p 96. online review; excerpt
  35. ^ Susannah Walker, Style and Status: Selling Beauty to African American Women, 1920-1975 (2007). excerpt
  36. ^ A'Lelia Bundles, On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker (2002) excerpt

Further reading[edit]

  • Roger E. Axtell, Tami Briggs, Margaret Corcoran, and Mary Beth Lamb, Do's and Taboos Around the World for Women in Business
  • Douglas Branson, No Seat at the Table: How Corporate Governance and Law Keep Women Out of the Boardroom
  • Christ, M. H. 2016. Women in internal audit: Perspectives from around the world. Altamonte Springs, FL: The IIA Research Foundation 2016.
  • Hine, Darlene Clark. Facts on File Encyclopedia of Black Women in America: Business and Professions (1997)
  • Krismann, Carol. Encyclopedia of American Women in Business From Colonial Times to the Present (2004)
  • Lin Coughlin, Ellen Wingard, and Keith Hollihan, Enlightened Power: How Women are Transforming the Practice of Leadership
  • Harvard Business School Press, editors, Harvard Business Review on Women in Business
  • National Women's Business Council, African American Women-owned Businesses (2012)
  • National Women's Business Council, Women in Business: 2007-2010 (2012)
  • Deborah Rhode, The Difference ""Difference"" Makes: Women and Leadership (2002)
  • Judy B. Rosener, America's Competitive Secret: Women Managers
  • Robert E. Seiler, Women in the Accounting Profession (1986)

External links[edit]