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Photo Credit: Vanessa Loder

Will Men and Women Ever Find Themselves Equal in Business?

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Whether you love the discourse or hate constantly seeing it brought up on television and through the radio, the idea of men vs. women in business is a popular subject. Times have changed and so has the view of the topic. Women are being received better in business, climbing higher on the corporate ladder and flexing their muscle in male-dominated industries. With all these steps in the right direction there’s one questions that remains – Is it enough? Is it enough for women to have taken these steps and will they ever find themselves on an even level as men in business without the constant attention paid to the fact that they are women in business? Below we have collected an array of responses from both men and women in the business world.

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Photo Credit: Yolanda Vega

Photo Credit: Yolanda Vega

No; men and women will never be equal in business for several reasons

Men and women are from the same species, but they are very different animals. They think differently, they network differently and they have different priorities hence why they do business differently. Women take less risks because they are the carers and many don’t back themselves . They think of others first; at home and in business. Women also tend to grow their businesses at a more organic pace and don’t take as many risks as men. Furthermore, international research confirms women invest in education, infrastructure and health – many rich men will buy sports cars instead. Women also give back to the community about 90% whilst men will give back about 30% according to international studies. The World Bank states that women are a failsafe investment. Women tend to repay back their debts better and faster than men, hence why micro financing has been so successful – more than 97% of the loans are given to women. The best way to do business is for men to learn what women need and for women to understand the male brain and for both to work together in order to achieve the best results for their business, communities, families and our economy. If we continue doing the same things nothing will change and if nothing changes, nothing changes!

Thanks to Yolanda Vega, AWCCI

 

Photo Credit: Ronny C. Jetmore

Photo Credit: Ronny C. Jetmore

The statistics show…

Any actual statistical analysis, such as those conducted or studied by Thomas Sowell, or Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman conclude women are equal in pay and hours. The cheap-shot government sited statistics are not actual, and they compare women that have raised kids for 10 and 20 years and have been out of the work force for quite some time, to men, who have worked the entire time. Obviously, the conclusion using these loaded dice, is that women make less. The fact is with equal time and hours, studies show women actually earn more. Liberal politicians know the facts, most of them, but simply enjoy siting flawed reports, to cater to a minority that will vote in flocks. Every business owner is committed more to the bottom line than to being sure he/she hires an equal amount of males and females. In other words, a boys club might sound cool, but cutting your payroll by having only women sounds even cooler to any business owner.

Thanks to Ronny C. Jetmore, Jetmore Insurance Group, Inc.

Related Post: How Women Can Level the Playing Field in Business

 

Photo Credit: Terra Wellington

Photo Credit: Terra Wellington

Fresh air of equality

I was sitting in JFK last week and overheard a phone call by a start-up tech exec in which he was talking about forthcoming hirings. He talked about a woman he had just interviewed in New York. I was pleasantly surprised to hear him say such positive things about her in a non-gender-biased, professional way. He was speaking purely in objective terms. There was a fresh air of equality about this conversation. Did she have what they needed? Yes. Was he impressed with her skills, expertise, and leadership? Yes, and he specifically identified why she was a great fit for their needs in a grow-the-business way. Since I work in an industry in which far too often women are seen as objects, it was a refreshing surprise to be a fly on the wall and listen to a different take.

Thanks to Terra Wellington

 

Photo Credit: Amy Zhang

Photo Credit: Amy Zhang

Consider the industry

The primary factor to be considered here is the industry. I am speaking from my own experience working in the hedge fund business as hedge fund administrator, which is a traditionally male dominated industry. In the same time, it’s very number oriented. Making money for your investors is the bottom line, not your gender. Over the recent years, I actually see a trend favoring women fund managers. Big asset allocators are seeking out women owned funds to invest in! I think a much better gender balance in our space will be coming soon.

Thanks to Amy Zhang, CPA, Affinity Fund Services LLC

 

Photo Credit: Vanessa Loder

Photo Credit: Vanessa Loder

Understanding how things work

A family member of mine who runs his own business recently told me he was hesitant to hire a woman who just got married because she would end up taking maternity leave and he would have to “scramble to find a replacement”. And here I am with an 8 month old daughter, coming off my own maternity leave, running my own business. I was angry and sad to hear his comment. And yet part of me understood why he would make a choice like that. As a business owner, it is a hassle to find a replacement. But I am certainly not going to let that stop me from hiring the most qualified person for the job. The truly sad part to me is that he is focused on the “cost” of finding a replacement rather than the other costs associated with his decision.

Thanks to Vanessa Loder, Akoya Power, LLC

Related Post: How Women Can Assert Themselves in Business

 

Photo Credit: Amanda Foy

Photo Credit: Amanda Foy

Moving towards a softer approach

I believe men and women stand in conflict today in business because as the generations change hands there’s a greater awareness of the levels of inequality and more of an oomph for women to speak up and point out where the yawning gaps are. For the ‘first’ time the message from a great many women is more ‘hang on a minute’ rather than ‘tap tap tap ‘ with a metal spade on some mans forehead saying “Oi, idiot, are you paying attention”, which in anyone’s language is fighting words. The fight has changed tact and there is a collective wave. Just like the new trend of communication that is social media, it’s teaching people how to buy instead of being broadcast. There is a new wave that will allow women the opportunity to stand up and be counted and be noted for what they will bring to the table. Humanity is also moving towards a softer approach because we’ve all seen what war and fighting and hate does. Women standing up are sick of the fight, and it’s important to recognise the growing number of men who recognise there is nil threat to their lives or place in society through the women doing what they do in business because they have the passion for it, not to prove a point. They won’t have to man up to be heard because the collective wave is standing up, without hate, saying this is only fair. I do believe we will see equal opportunity and reward in the sandbox that is Australian and Global business in our lifetime. When the move towards collaboration is fully embraced and the relationship building wave is also fully embraced, you will recognise the lack of fight there is in this discussion point in business.

Thanks to Amanda Foy, Goddess Imperative Australia

 

Photo Credit: Vanessa Hall

Photo Credit: Vanessa Hall

Not if women must share the bulk of child rearing responsibilities

No – I don’t think men and women will ever be equal in business if women are to also shoulder the bulk responsibility of having children and caring for them. I used to work in corporate HR for a mining company and felt that as I had more children (1, 2 and eventually 3), the male dominated environment I worked in, didn’t lend itself to understanding the demands a woman has on her as a working female and mum. I ultimately left that industry after the birth of my 3rd child as the realisation that the hours in a job like that were not conducive to also being a mum to 3 young ones, hit me like a brick. I decided to create my own business with hours that suited me better and to be my own boss. It’s been hard and I probably work more hours now than when I worked in HR but I choose those hours and am at home for a lot of it so it works better for me. I’m still balancing being a mum and definitely don’t feel equal to many men out there. They can forge ahead and achieve a lot more career wise (usually with the support of a wife behind them) but there’s not many women I know who have a man standing in the wings supporting them (whilst at the same time looking after their own career). My business now is a vintage caravan which has been renovated so that the inside looks like a 1950’s kitchen. I sell coffee and cupcakes at markets around Brisbane.

Thanks to Vanessa Hall, Dolly Vardens Coffee Van

 

Photo Credit: Ian Aronovich

Photo Credit: Ian Aronovich

It’s hard to say

Men and women are biologically different. When women take time off for maternity leave, for example, while they can be as effective or even more effective in a business sense, they’ll still be perceived as not matching up to the men at work. It’s unfortunate that there will always be sexism in the workplace and there will always be people who will discriminate and judge based on gender alone, despite more and more women assuming leadership roles in the business world. For that reason alone, it’s hard to say that men and women will ever be equal in the workplace.

Thanks to Ian Aronovich, GovernmentAuctions

Related Post: The Value of Women in Startups

 

Photo Credit: Melanie Angelis

Photo Credit: Melanie Angelis

Putting focus on growing a business is the key to equality

It depends on what “equal” means. I certainly hope it doesn’t refer to pantsuits compared to men’s suits. As a woman entrepreneur, I can equal a man’s success on my own terms, with my own set of skills and abilities that allow me to propel my alternative health business forward. Attempting to “out-assert” or “out-flirt” are both behaviors that don’t belong in the professional workplace. Especially as a small business, earning the trust of clients and the other businesses I work with go hand in hand; I cannot be pleasant to one while secretly plotting to find and shatter all the glass ceilings in the immediate vicinity. Equality is only reached when entrepreneurs and established business people simply concentrate on growing their businesses ethically rather than focusing on distracting and complex issues of perception.

Thanks to Melanie Angelis, The Grecian Garden

 

Photo Credit: Michael Pesochinsky

Photo Credit: Michael Pesochinsky

As time goes on

As time goes on, men and women will become more equal on the business playing field. If we look back on how far the fight for women’s equality and rights have come since the 1960s—at least in the United States—it’s inevitable that from today on, the gap between both genders are narrowing. There are more and more women leaders and CEOs today that people of the past have only dreamed of seeing. CEOs like Irene Rosenfeld of Mondelēz International or Marissa Meyer of Yahoo! upon many others are setting the stage for the generations of women to come.

Thanks to Michael Pesochinsky, GovernmentBargains

About Gresham Harkless Jr.

Profile photo of Gresham Harkless Jr.
Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.
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