Despite decades of progress, only around 17% of startups have a female founder. Women are not making it into C-suite positions at the same rate as men, and According to an American Express Open study, the number of women-owned businesses in the United States is growing faster than their male-owned counterparts by double since 1997. Women-owned businesses nevertheless account for only 30% of businesses overall due in part for a greater concern among females for a better work-life balance or perhaps other reasons? Women have made significant progress in the workforce, especially as business owners, but there is still a major disparity between the sexes in the workplace. What is holding women in business back and what can we do as a society to help level the playing field?
According to Women in the Workplace, “In corporate America, women fall behind early and continue to lose ground with every step.” This study, commissioned by Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In organization together with McKinsey & Company, analyzed data from 132 companies that employed more than 4.6 million people. Here are some of their key findings:
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“By the time women reach the SVP level, they hold just 20% of line roles, and line roles lead more directly to the C-suite: In 2015, 90% of new CEOs in the S&P 500 were promoted or hired from line roles.”
“Women who negotiate for a promotion or compensation increase are 30% more likely than men who negotiate to receive feedback that they are “bossy,” “too aggressive,” or “intimidating.””
“Only 40% of women are interested in becoming top executives, compared to 56% of men. Women and men worry equally about work-life balance and company politics.”
“Women with and without children are more likely to say they don’t want the pressure, and women who want a top job anticipate a steeper path than men who do.”
Many women persist in spite of these barriers both in women-Owned Businesses and those owned by others, and their daily habits could hold the key. Writing down goals, overcoming adversity, and taking time to rest are all key factors in success. Pushing for better workplace policies for work-life balance and accommodating families better will help bring more women into higher positions, but learning to balance it all is key. Beyonce brings her daughter with her on tour in order to balance it all, though that’s not the answer for everyone. Learn more about the habits of highly successful women from this infographic.