Why Women CEOs Matter Now More Than Ever
By Deborah Sweeney
I was thrilled to discover in a recent Entrepreneur article that national trends in company leadership are moving toward placing women in CEO positions instead of men.
The article states that, so far, 879 CEOs have left their roles in 2018. Of these CEOs, 727 were men while 152 were women. According to outplacement and career transitioning services firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., 716 replacements have been identified for these 879 positions with 161 women anticipated to step into the role of CEO. At 22 percent, it’s another significant step forward from 2017 where only 18 percent of replacement CEOs were women.
As a woman small business owner, I love seeing more women step into these roles and continue shaking up the status quo. However, I’m rooting for more than representation in the big leagues. I’m cheering on any woman who decides to pursue entrepreneurship, start a business and become a CEO. Their business may be small, but it – and they – are mighty, perhaps more than they realize.
Talented employees want women bosses.
Opening a small business has an incredibly positive domino effect. It’s good for the economy, both locally and on a national level. It helps fulfill consumer needs with a product or service that can make their lives better.
Women entrepreneurs may decide to hire employees to help run the business, and that’s where they have considerable leverage. Talent is flocking towards women bosses. A 2017 Gallup study revealed that American workers do not prefer to work for a male boss over a female boss. Since the 1980s, male bosses have been the preferred gender to work for, holding as much of a 34-point advantage over women. The scales have shifted in favor of women CEOs, who may find it a bit easier to attract great talent to work with them.
Financial firms created by women, for women entrepreneurs, continue to expand.
No matter what stage your business is in, it’s highly likely that you may need some extra capital to help out. This is, unfortunately, an area where women business owners face great challenges. A series of anonymous female founders revealed to Fast Company the bias that took place when they pitched their businesses to male investors. Male investors had to be convinced that these products were necessary for women, with one even trying on clothes from a fashion startup. One founder profiled was referred to as a “media spokesperson.” The investor simply refused to take her seriously as a CEO.
The good – or rather, great – news is that this is changing. Women-based venture capital firms are sprouting up all throughout the country to end this bias. They want to financially invest in women businesses, but they go a step beyond writing out checks. Many female investors are working to assist women entrepreneurs with advisors and accelerators in their networks. They’re getting the business started and helping maintain it throughout its journey.
There are more resources, and support, available for their business.
Did you know that 30 years ago women could not obtain business loans on their own? Prior to the passing of HR 5050: Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988, women entrepreneurs could not take out business loans in their own names. They were required to have a male relative as their co-signer. If they did not, they would not be granted the loan based on their gender.
Thankfully, substantial progress has been made in granting women loans. The advancements continue to branch out beyond the passing of this law, too. Today’s women entrepreneurs can start and grow their businesses with the help of the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) and receive free mentorship advice from SCORE. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes. The organization works tirelessly to make sure small businesses are being heard and to keep the dream alive.
Women who dream of becoming their own boss but worry that they cannot do it have nothing to fear. There is more than enough room for their big ideas and help to get them started.
Article originally appeared on Business.