Women in Business – Why They Succeed

It feels like a long time coming, but women are finding more success in the business world and building a more inclusive future. Talented women have been paving the way for more equal footing and fighting for space, recognition, and opportunity. It’s these leaders and entrepreneurs who have led to sunnier statistics than ever before. As of February 2021, women now own 12.3 million businesses in the U.S. and around $390 billion in revenue has been accrued from businesses owned or managed by women of color.

So, what has changed over the years? How did these successful women in business overcome adversity to achieve their dreams? Here are some examples of how small changes have helped crack the glass ceiling.

Creating your own schedule and living on your own terms

“Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices.” — Betsy Jacobson

Women have been told that they must choose between being a mom or having a career. Though this stigma still exists, thought leaders are making strides to change the narrative. Instead of trying to manage a schedule created by someone else, many women have opted to go into business for themselves.

Though work-life balance is a constant struggle for those who wear multiple hats, being your own boss can help you take control of your life and priorities. Creating and owning a successful business is giving more women agency and flexibility when it comes to work and family. Female entrepreneurs, who are finding new ways to navigate career, motherhood, and life’s other challenges, are creating new frameworks and making it possible for other women to exceed expectations.

Representation in media, business, and politics

“No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half its citizens.” — Michelle Obama

Being a woman in business has become more commonplace over the decades, and it’s slowly trickling into public life.

According to the Center for American Women and Politics, as of 2021, 143 women serve in Congress and 51 of them are women of color. Ketanji Brown Jackson was just elected to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Vice President Kamala Harris is our first female VP, and the fact that she’s of Black and Asian descent gives women and girls a new kind of role model. This representation sends the message that success can be accessible to so much more than the status quo.

As more women of different races, lifestyles, and sexual orientations earn leadership roles, the more diversity becomes normalized in this space and brings us closer to equality.

Women supporting women

“I’ve always believed that one woman’s success can only help another woman’s success.” — Gloria Vanderbilt

Being a woman in business often means going head-to-head against competitors and antiquated beliefs about women in power.

As female presence in leadership grows, so should support—many powerful women across the globe have realized collaboration makes everyone stronger.

Revolutionary expos like BWe Next give Black female entrepreneurs an opportunity to share their strengths, discuss their business acumen, and network with potential mentors and role models.

Major companies are also taking steps to ensure gender equality is thriving in the workforce, hoping to eradicate gaps in wages and promotions that are caused (either consciously or unconsciously) by gender bias.

Products made for women by women

“If we are going to be part of the solution, we have to engage the problems.” — Majora Carter

For years, women’s purchasing options have been limited to items made and designed without them in mind—most available products were created by male-owned companies. Women of color have also had to settle for products that weren’t designed for their unique skin, hair, and lifestyle needs. Shoes that pinch, bras that cut off circulation, and inadequate period and self-care products have led many business-savvy women to take production into their own hands.

When supporting women in business, we’re allowing people who actually use these items to have a voice. That means products that are more useful, functional, and appealing to the people they are intended for—which boosts the economy and the endeavors of future business women.

Passion and inspiration via diverse voices

“Invite people into your life that don’t look or think like you. “ — Mellody Hobson

Wondering how to become a successful businesswoman (or businessperson for that matter)? Pay attention to who you hire.

According to Forbes, your employees are your #1 asset. Every member of your staff, from your vice president to your cashiers, represents the face of your company. If the majority of your staff look and think the same, it’s clear you’re doing something wrong. Diversity of thought and experience enriches any environment and keeps your business from lapsing into stagnation, losing touch, or alienating potential customers.

It’s also important to surround yourself with people who are comfortable disagreeing with you. You want independent thinkers who aren’t afraid to pitch ideas and be honest. Getting unique perspectives is the key to successful brainstorming. Your closest advisors should care as much about your company as you do, but also offer you new ways of seeing.

Embracing unique capabilities

Doubt is a killer. You just have to know who you are and what you stand for.” — Jennifer Lopez

Research has shown that women score higher than men in most leadership skills. The outdated mentality, “be one of the boys,” is becoming a thing of the past, as women embrace and value the unique skills they bring to the table.

Ideally, entrepreneurs of marginalized genders and races continue to discover that staying true to what makes them unique is a pathway to success.

The new “having it all”

“You can have it all. Just not all at once.” — Oprah Winfrey

Oprah is just one of the many examples of what can happen when strong, determined women go after their dreams. She is one of, if not the single most successful business woman of all time—listed #12 in Forbes’ self-made women list of 2021. You can choose not to have kids or a husband and live for yourself. You can be successful as a mom, wife, and CEO. Or, you can focus on your goals and wait to decide, like many women of this generation have done

Women have seen that with patience, strategy, and the tenacity of trailblazers who have paved the way, we can achieve any dream. That knowledge has led to the success of countless women of all races and ages. Seeing and supporting women as they reach once impossible goals and make names for themselves will help future generations blow the glass ceiling to smithereens.