If we’ve learned anything lately, it’s that our country’s progress in race relations, LGBTQ acceptance, and gender equality is far behind where it should be in 2017. We all have a lot to fight for right now. And when it comes specifically to women in the business world, it turns out that people are *still* more likely to question and/or doubt businesses owned by women.
This information comes from Fundera, which showed over 1,000 people 10 unique business plans and asked them to rate each company’s success. For each business plan, half were shown with a woman as the owner, and half with a man. They were asked to rate each plan on the likelihood of success, how well the business was managed, and how likely they would be to patronize the business. Here’s what was found:
Men tended to be more critical than women in regard to female business owners.
Yes, the business world is still largely a boy’s club. For example, in technology – where women have struggled to gain ground in startups and existing companies – female-owned businesses have been viewed as less successful than male-owned companies.
Female-owned businesses are more likely to gain customers if they operate in fields already dominated by women (accounting, education, design, advertising).
Old gender tropes are unfortunately still strong as ever. And, apparantly, being a female entrepreneur in an industry dominated by women is good for sales numbers.
Millennials were the least inclined to support a female-owned business.
No, not all millennials are forward-thinking. Interestingly, baby boomers had the most encouraging views of female management skills.
In the eyes of those surveyed, female business owners were perceived to be less successful than men in the technology, accounting, fashion, and finance industries.
Even though women’s fashion is a massive industry — key word being WOMEN’s — many major fashion houses are run by men, which can affect women’s abilities to find success in this field. Within the study, men’s anticipated management skills exceeded that of women in this field, which feels contradictory.
So what does this all mean?
In spite of these circumstances, women are still on the rise in business. In 2015, there were more than 9 million female-owned companies in the U.S., employing over 8 million people and earning over $1.4 trillion annually.
Ultimately, women will continue to fight for their companies, regardless of how high the odds are stacked. But it’s also important to take these statistics and learn from them. Our biases can run deep and unnoticed. The more we actively question where we buy our goods from and why, the more we can fight against old gender stereotypes and lift up the professional women around us.
When one woman succeeds, we all succeed.