Women in business

The phrase women in business covers the participation of women in leadership roles in commerce. Women are underrepresented and underestimated in corporate leadership, making up only 4.8% of CEOs in S&P 500 companies, despite making up 44.7% of total employees.[1]

Women in corporate leadership

Katharine Graham became the CEO of The Washington Post company in 1972, making her the first female CEO of a Fortune 500 company.[2] In her memoir, Graham outlines the personal struggles that she faced as a woman in such a high position at a publishing company.[3] 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.[2]

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.[4] 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.”[5] Burns climbed the ranks from an intern at the company in 1980, to president in 2007, CEO in 2009 and then chairman in 2010.[6] 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.[6] 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.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11]

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.[12] 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."[10] 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.[13]

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,[14] women leaders may be seen by an increasing number of employers as an untapped source of talent, experience and senior-management leadership.[14] 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. [15]

Women as entrepreneurs

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.[16] 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.

Developing Countries

A disproportionate share of women-owned business in developing countries today are micro, small or medium enterprises. Often they do not mature. This has negative for growth and poverty reduction. 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.[17] The budget of the program is $50 million.[17] Empowerment of Women in the Corporate Sector is an international forum held in Astana, Kazakhstan.[18] 44 percent of all businesses in Kazakhstan are Women-owned and contribute to Kazakhstan's economic development and modernization.[18]

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.[19]

In some African countries like Ghana, some women such as Ayisha Fuseini have benefited from grants or sponsorship from NGOs and big business like Camfed and the Mastercard Foundation’s Innovation Bursary Program (IBP) and became entrepreneurs in their own right.[20][21]

Developed Countries

United States

Most of the African-Americans in business were men, however women played a major role especially in the area of beauty. Standards of beauty were different for whites and blacks, 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 at their high schools and colleges.[22][23] 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.[24]

The number of women-owned businesses in the United States is growing at twice the rate of all firms. Currently around 30% of US firms are majority-owned by women. 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. In the UK, for example, it is estimated that just 15% of firms are majority-owned by women.[25]

United Kingdom

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.

See also


  1. ecohen (2012-11-15). "Women in S&P 500 Companies". Catalyst. Retrieved 2019-01-20.
  2. Epstein, Noel; Smith, J.Y. "Katharine Graham Dies at 84". The Washington Post. The Washington Post. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  3. Graham, Katharine (1998). Personal History. New York: Vintage.
  4. "Rags to Riches CEOs: Ursula Burns". Minyanville. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  5. "Ursula M. Burns shares her Lean In story". Lean In. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  6. "Ursula M. Burns, Director since: 2007". Xerox. 2016-08-01. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  7. Loop, Paula. "This Explains Why More Women Aren't Landing Board Seats". Fortune. Fortune. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  8. "Gender Diversity Index" (PDF). 2020 Women on Boards. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  9. Michael Connor (March 19, 2010). "Women Lack Numbers and Influence on Corporate Boards". Business Ethics. Retrieved June 16, 2012.
  10. 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.
  11. 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. ISSN 0304-405X. Lay summary.
  12. "Companies Behaving Responsibly: Gender Diversity on Boards" (PDF). The Catalyst Research Centers. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  13. Nitin, Dholu (1 April 2018). "Small Business Ideas for Women". Top Worldwide Jobs. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  14. Transearch International. "Scratching The Surface: Women In The Boardroom". Retrieved June 16, 2012.
  15. Schroeder, Jackson (2018-11-30). "Women CEOs Are 45 Percent More Likely To Be Fired". The University Network. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  16. Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (January 6, 2012). "GEM 2010 Womens Report". Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. Retrieved June 16, 2012.
  17. "EBRD launches Women in Business programme for Kazakhstan at Eurasian Women's Summit in Astana". www.ebrd.com. Retrieved 2015-11-30.
  18. "Forum addresses national gender equality achievements and challenges". The Astana Times.
  19. "OSCE supports second international women's forum in Kazakhstan". www.osce.org.
  20. Graphic Business, Ayisha Fuseini: The 'Shea' strength of Asheba Enterprise by Elikem Kuenyehia (Monday, April 30, 2018) (Retrieved 25 April 2019)
  21. 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, (Retrieved 25 April 2019)
  22. Blain Roberts, Pageants, Parlors, and Pretty Women: Race and Beauty in the Twentieth-Century South (2014), quote p 96. online review; excerpt
  23. Susannah Walker, Style and Status: Selling Beauty to African American Women, 1920-1975 (2007). excerpt
  24. A'Lelia Bundles, On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker (2002) excerpt
  25. Prowess 2.0. "Facts". Prowess 2.0. Retrieved June 16, 2012.

Further reading

  • 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)
  • See also Category:Women in business
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