• Susanne Birgersdotter

Recent statistics show the number of women entrepreneurs all over the world is on the rise. This is a phenomenal change from the expected and accustomed, where men dominate the business world. For the longest time, women have been held back or have chosen to stay away from the industry for three main reasons:

Societal Conditioning – Societal norms have dictated gender roles and perception – boys are stronger thus relegated to tougher outside jobs, while girls are weaker and are left home to tend the young. We can now confirm that gender profiling is inconclusive and deceptive.

Lack of Peer Support – Boys’ clubs are formed within most business industries where fellow businessmen socialize and support each other. It is not uncommon to exclude women from these groups, leaving them clueless on everything concerning business and the industry.

However, the last couple of decades have seen an emerging number of women entrepreneurs. Women have forced their way to establish a niche in the business society. It hasn’t been easy, we don’t only have to overcome business obstacles, there are also the social, mental and physical struggles that we have to contend with. But, despite everything, slowly and surely, we’ve taken a foothold.

One notable difference among men and women entrepreneurs is that most businesswomen are self-starters, starting their business really small and within their homes, while most of their male counterparts inherited their positions and businesses from family and mentors.

The rise of women entrepreneurs has disrupted the structured business society. This new breed of smart, no-nonsense, ambitious, and driven women has sent shockwaves through the halls, boardrooms, and august chambers of businessmen. Where women are often seen at the receptionist’s desk, the secretary’s table, or in the customer care department, they’re now taking managerial posts, occupying corner offices, and top positions.

The change hasn’t always been welcomed. In fact, we saw a lot of resistance. From the traditionalists who couldn’t accept the reality of gender equality, from frat men who are used to keeping things within the club, and from boys who can’t handle women superiors.

The worst resistance came from the boys who seemed lost when confronted with a woman who’s talking business and making good sense. These men are shocked to know successful women CEOs, rebel when a woman gets a promotion before him or realize they’re paid equally.

I always blame society for these behaviors. Or maybe how they were raised or made to believe about women and business. What is not acceptable for me are men who insist on closing doors. It doesn’t matter how good the proposal is, or how feasible the idea is, if it came from a woman, then it’s no good.

Ironically, it is the same narrowmindedness that has forced women to discover their own proficiencies and start their own dynasties. The limitations and the boundaries they thought would tame us were the same forces that have set us free. Women have learned to use the obstacles and restrictions as stepping stones. I have.

And I will never stop telling women how powerful they are to turn prejudice into an advantage. I will share my story, so women can know their struggles are nothing but a temporary predicament. That everyone is entitled to the success they’re dreaming of, if only they continue knocking on those closed doors and walls.