Statistics and data demonstrating all of the adversity and inequality that women face in the workplace, and in particular in male-dominated fields, flood our social media feeds, news stories and TV screens on a daily basis. This narrative describing all of the challenges that women face in their professional lives and all of the hard work they have to put in just to get half as far as their male colleagues is so dominant that it almost seems inescapable.
Here at PressReady — a female-owned and operated business — we aim to flip the script and highlight all of the positive and groundbreaking work that women do every single day.
It has been ingrained in women’s heads that there are limited spots at the top, meaning the other women around you are your biggest competitors and not in fact your strongest allies. PressReady Co-Founder Liz Anthony has a different take.
“I have always believed in community over competition. I have connected and surrounded myself with fellow female entrepreneurs since starting my own business in early 2009,” Liz said. “By being open and honest about the challenges we face and successes we celebrate, it allows each of us to grow and support one another along the way! Running a business is not for the faint of heart, so allowing yourself to share your personal journey including all of the ups and downs can give valuable lessons and make meaningful connections. Female entrepreneurship is challenging, rewarding and contagious when you motivate each other!”
If we take a page from Liz’s book, we can learn how to embrace the female experience as an asset rather than a disadvantage. According to recent studies, it seems that more women are channeling this mindset year after year.
The numbers speak for themselves, with the National Association of Women Business Owners reporting that there are 12.3 million women-owned businesses in the US as of this year. Another promising statistic from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council reveals that 40% of US businesses are women-owned.
Working predominantly in the fashion and lifestyle industry, PressReady Co-Founder Suki Mulberg Altamirano recognizes how her experience might look different than women working in other fields. Even so, she has witnessed first-hand the barriers that her female colleagues have had to overcome.
“I have been very fortunate to work with so many talented female entrepreneurs, publicists, clients and members of the media in the public relations industry, but unfortunately most of them have had to advocate strongly for promotions, equal pay, benefits, family leave and go up against sexist discrimination at the corporate level,” Suki said. “I can only imagine the struggle that women face in male-dominated fields every day. Never give up, you are incredible.”
Although national numbers of women in managerial positions remain disproportionate to the US’ population broken down by gender, the overall trend is bent toward progress. According to a McKinsey study, the representation of women in senior-vice-president positions grew from 23 to 28% between January 2015 and January 2020. Moreover, representation of women in the C-suite grew from 17 to 21%.
Progress is not only evident in the number of women at the top, but also in representation of businesswomen of all different identities. Of the US women-owned businesses in 2021, 50% are owned by minorities.
True change cannot take hold until all women, from all backgrounds, have a spot at the table and a platform for their voices to be heard. Although the fight for gender equality in the workplace is universal and requires all genders to be on board, women must also recognize the often untapped power that emerges when we join forces.