Women generally face the predicament of being looked down upon in business circles. Gender stereotyping is a bane to not only past and present females but future ladies as well may well be caught up in this conundrum if not dealt with. For that reason, this misconception needs to be dealt away with thorough enlightenment that gender does not limit one in exploring all avenues especially where entrepreneurship is concerned. As a woman entrepreneur myself, in our 2018 Applied Entrepreneurship Masters class at Chinhoyi University of Technology we were only two ladies representing the female population versus ten males. In fact, this little detail didn’t in any way intimidate me because entrepreneurship is a doctrine that can be enacted by anyone with the will power and passion to see their solutions bloom to fruition. Indeed, there are a plethora of push and pull factors that enable one to become a woman entrepreneur. Likewise, with push there is an element of external forces that you cannot control for they are out of your ability whilst the opposite is true, for pull it’s the call that you can’t shake off your back up until you succumb to its will. Equally, all these forces in a mix come in the form of the need for recognition that will be burning brightly like banked coals, passion, the need to have extra cash or supplementing one’s salary, retrenchments, the death of a breadwinner in the family etc. Fortunately, either way I am going to tackle just a few. Interestingly, since we celebrated the International Women’s day on 8 March there is need to dispel the fear of venturing into entrepreneurship. From one woman to the other, nothing is impossible in this world. In fact, the sky is the limit as they say because the only thing that needs to be supported is women entrepreneurship through sharing after all it is an act tantamount to caring. Also, it is another form of women empowerment that is greatly needed not only in Zimbabwe but her African sister countries for ladies need to have the zeal to try out new things that will be beneficial to the whole nation as it will result in wealth and job creation.
Need for recognition
Sometimes you might feel unappreciated for your good works just because of your gender. This alone is a strong motivating factor to want to break the boundary and prove yourself that you have it in you to defy all odds. Suffice to say, this even reminds me of the movie ‘What Men Want’ acted by Taraji P. Henson. The gist of the script was that she could not get promoted no matter how hard she worked herself to the ground because of her gender. Thus, ultimately she resigned and went her way and did what she knew best. Consequently, that need for recognition should entice you into doing your own thing and becoming a “madam boss” of the 21st century were we as women reshape the corporate world, taking our rightful places besides other business minded males.
Again, you must be passionate enough to want to become an entrepreneur to a certain extent that entrepreneurship will be coursing hotly in your blood veins which some might call an inborn trait. If you have it in you, then you must answer to this call and spread your wings in engaging yourself in entrepreneurial activities. The beauty of entrepreneurship is that it is done by people who have determination and who takes failure as a stepping stone to success. As a result, such strong minded individuals have a backbone to give it their all or die trying as the statement goes. In some way that is why they are noted to be visionaries of some sorts. Furthermore, they are ever proactive looking for the next big opportunity before it hits the rest of the population what a golden chance they let it pass through their fingers.
Supplementing your salary
Now for other women, they venture into entrepreneurship because they want to supplement their salaries. All in all, we are living in hard times although they do not kill, as a lady on a mission you should have something up your sleeve that supplements your salary. Speaking of which, it is never wise to put your eggs in one basket. This is why successful entrepreneurs like Oprah Winfrey keep on diversifying, staying true to the serial entrepreneurial doctrine. Consequently to make ends meet, one will do what is commonly coined “a side hustle” so as to blanket yourself from economic hardships that have hard hit our country worse with the global pandemic still making us dance to its tune.
Sacked/fired at your workplace or retrenchment
One might find herself filling the big shoes of being an entrepreneur because she would have been sacked from her previous job. Quite frankly, job security is a thing of the past. In this respect, on a drop of a hat you might find yourself unemployed. Henceforth, this might pose as a good opportunity to venture into entrepreneurship because some blessings come in disguise. Worth noting is that, all these are kind of situations that one might face unexpectedly but ultimately bear satisfying fruits if you take time to reflect and involve yourself in solving people’s problems.
Overally, as women we must not be victims of gender stereotyping or homophily that men tend to exercise in the business world. Additionally, we do not need to don on suits and trousers to prove our point that what a man can do a woman can do twice. Instead, just try your hand at what you are good at. Sadly enough, why most females shy away from entrepreneurship is that we do not have enough role models to look up to. However, this does not mean they are no successful women entrepreneurs in the world. Interestingly, if these women find time to mentor and inspire others through business programs and workshops this will go a long way in giving young girls the hope that they too can do it in the near foreseeable future.
Personally I believe if you educate a woman, you educate the whole nation therefore this rule of law also applies to this scenario. In the same vein, more girls should be motivated to take up STEM subjects so that the type of entrepreneurship they will eventually find themselves involved in will be worthwhile and fortifying. Truth be told, we need more women technopreneurs in this fast changing digitalized world. The good thing is we are on the right track since many women are taking up the challenge and even making noise in industries such as mining. For all intents and purposes, one must live their life to the fullest whilst proving what they are made of. Pressing the same argument, men or women the business world is big enough for everyone but this only applies to those who are fiercely proactive and risk takers.
Undoubtedly the old adage claims, good things come to those who wait but the crux of the matter is that “good things comes to those who work for them upholding their creative ideas and innovations so that they see the light of the day.” A good example is that of Dr Divine Ndhlukula who was named the Businesswoman of the year award at the Forbes Woman Africa Awards in 2019. Without no shadow of doubt, women entrepreneurs can even put a stance in male dominated sectors and give them a run for their money if only they are willing to try their hand in solving the general masses problems innovatively using smart technology. Yes as women entrepreneurs we can unanimously defy all odds if we take up entrepreneurship as the way to go in these current times.
What's Your Reaction?
Abigirl Phiri is a Ph.D student in commerce, free-lance writer, poet, International Ambassador of Peace, GBV activist, social entrepreneur, talent manager and an international marketer. More of her work can be found on her Facebook Page: Words are forever.