Why Women Need to Support Each Other, Now More Than Ever
The fallout of the Covid-19 crisis isn't just affecting small businesses; it has the potential to change the corporate landscape for women. Read on to find out more.
In a startling new report, Women in the Workplace, Corporate America is at a Critical Crossroad, by McKinsey & Company, they state, "Corporate America is at a crossroads- the choices companies make today will have consequences on gender equality for decades to come".
All the progress we've seen over the past five years would be erased.
The pandemic has proven to be challenging in even more ways than expected; from small businesses struggling to stay afloat to working from home, caring for families, and (elderly) parents- women have felt an unprecedented level of stress. But when women work together to support and empower each other, we genuinely do have the power to change the world.
From our purchasing decisions as consumers to the leadership and employment opportunities from women-owned and women-led businesses, women are an incredible and undeniable force.
Let's start with women as consumers because that is really where our power lies.
Women may make up half of the US population, but they dominate consumer purchasing decisions.
Women drive 80% of all consumer purchasing decisions.
85% of women say that if they like a brand, they will remain loyal to it.
Women are the sole source of income in 40% of US households.
92% of women pass along information about deals or online recommendations to others.
Women reinvest income in their families and communities at higher rates than men.
Women-owned businesses are driving economic growth in the United States.
Women-owned businesses represent 42% of all businesses- nearly 13 million, employing 9.4 million workers and generating revenue of $1.9 trillion. (source, nawbo.org)
But, less than 3% of all Venture Capitalist funding goes to women-led startups, and in the VC world, only 12% of decision-makers are women.
Yet, numerous studies show that women-led companies tend to perform better than those led by men. Boston Consulting Group reported women-run startups ultimately "deliver higher revenue — more than twice as much per dollar invested."
According to another report, women-founded firms had a 35 percent higher ROI than their male counterparts on their initial capital investments.
Even Kevin O' Leary of Shark Tank admits preferring to invest in companies helmed by women because they produce superior returns. He says, "In my portfolios, women hit their objectives in sales 95 percent of the time and men only 65 percent".
But it isn't just ROI that makes women-run businesses a vital factor for the economy; these businesses employ more women, 2.5 times more women.
Also, research conducted by The Harris Poll shows that "half of Americans want to work for a female leader. Women-led organizations are also more likely to have engaged, inspired, and satisfied employees than male-led firms".
According to a Harvard Business study, "the lack of gender equality in funding startups leads to further problems. It affects the overall job picture for women exponentially," They go on to say, "Women-led startups are essential to recovery."
But the challenges created by the Covid-19 crisis aren't just affecting small businesses; it has the potential to change the corporate landscape for women.
In a year marked by crisis and uncertainty, corporate America is at a crossroads. The choices companies make today will have consequences on gender equality for decades to come.
As mentioned earlier, the report, Women in the Workplace, Corporate America is at a Critical Crossroad, states, "as many as two million women are considering taking a leave of absence or leaving the workforce altogether. This is the first time we've seen signs of women leaving the workforce altogether".
"If these women feel forced to leave the workforce, we'll end up with far fewer women in leadership—and far fewer women on track to be future leaders. All the progress we've seen over the past five years would be erased".
Yet, what is interesting, organizations with women in senior leadership roles tend to do better than companies with fewer or no women.
A study from Harvard Kennedy School found teams with lower percentages of women have lower sales and profits than teams with a balanced gender mix. The study also reports that profits increase as the share of women increases – up to 50%.
"Organizations that help women succeed contribute to not only their own success but to the flourishing of individual businesses and to the economy overall."
So what can we do?
We need to spotlight women-owned businesses and women-led businesses to support them by spreading the word, sharing resources, giving them our money, and prioritizing and accommodating working women.
By increasing the opportunities and the wealth for women, we can significantly impact our communities for the better.
How can you empower and support other women?
Collaboration over Competition
One woman can make a difference, but collectively we can have an impact. Build relationships and commit to helping each other. Share your knowledge and resources. Make a connection for someone, offer to introduce them to someone who can help them.
I believe one women's success can only help another woman's success.
- Gloria Vanderbilt
Lift and Encourage Women
Shut Down Negativity. As women, we have enough obstacles, and critics, in our way, including the harshest critic, the one between our own two ears. Be an Encourager. Shining a light on someone else will never dull your sparkle.
As the wise, bad-ass Brené Brown so beautifully stated in her book, Rising Strong,
A lot of cheap seats in the arena are filled with people who never venture onto the floor. They just hurl mean-spirited criticisms and put-downs from a safe distance. The problem is, when we stop caring what people think and stop feeling hurt by cruelty, we lose our ability to connect. But when we're defined by what people think, we lose the courage to be vulnerable. Therefore, we need to be selective about the feedback we let into our lives. For me, if you're not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I'm not interested in your feedback.
- Brené Brown
Show them Love
Shop with them. Make a donation. Refer a friend. Offer to make an introduction. Share resources or knowledge. Shout out their business on social media. Become a mentor. Or simply ask them how you can help- your support does matter.
The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other up. Make sure you're very courageous: be strong, be extremely kind, and above all be humble.
- Serena Williams
And above all else, Be kind
It really is That simple.
The only way we will survive is by being kind. The only way we can get by in this world is through the help we receive from others. No one can do it alone.
- Amy Poehler
As women, we have the power to change the world, and it is now more important than ever. So let's work together (even more) to support and empower each other.
Finally, the more we share the more gratitude we bring into our lives. This will have a ripple effect on you, your life, and your business, and on all the lives you touch.
If you are successful, it is because somewhere, sometime, someone gave you a life or an idea that started you in the right direction. Remember also that you are indebted to life until you help some less fortunate person, just as you were helped.
– Melinda Gates