Female entrepreneurs Australia-wide are making their mark in the business world, with one in three small businesses run by women.

However, it is disappointing to note that women-led businesses receive less than one per cent of private funding for startups, while male-led businesses receive a staggering 85 per cent. This disparity is not an isolated issue but rather a clear indication that there is a significant problem that needs to be addressed urgently.

Women who venture into the business industry are often met with bias and prejudice when it comes to securing funding or negotiating deals as a result of deep-rooted gender bias that exists within business environments. Juggling professional responsibilities with family duties is a significant challenge for many female entrepreneurs, as societal expectations dictate that women must manage both aspects of their lives flawlessly. The absence of representation and mentorship opportunities for women in entrepreneurial circles can also impede their access to vital networks and resources.

It’s important to acknowledge the gender imbalance in financial support for male and female-led businesses. Sadly, female-led businesses receive significantly less financial assistance than their male counterparts. Australia needs to work on not only narrowing the pay gap between genders but also providing economic and physical aid to female business leaders. By investing in women-led businesses, we can not only support individual entrepreneurs but also help to create a more just and prosperous society.

Today, more women are being chosen for top jobs to fix problems left by previous male CEOs. We see this through the recent appointment of Amanda Bardwell, with Woolworths and Michele Bullock, taking over as Governer of Reverse Bank of Australia. These examples only amplify the argument that women are more than capable of doing a ‘mans’ role. 

This transition not only signifies a commitment to diversity and inclusivity but also reflects the industry’s growth faith to entrust capable leaders with the responsibility of steering companies toward success amidst adversity. It’s a testament to the evolving understanding within corporate circles that gender diversity isn’t merely a matter of representation but a source of competitive advantage and resilience in an ever-changing business landscape.

It is time for the business industry to realise that women have a lot more to offer than just ‘cleaning up’ messes. Diverse perspectives play a crucial role in effective decision-making, and women leaders often bring unique viewpoints to the table. Their empathetic and communicative nature also contributes to stronger employee engagement. Companies that have greater gender diversity in leadership roles tend to perform better financially, with a 35 per cent higher return on investment. This suggests that having more women in top positions positively impacts the bottom line.

To address these challenges, it is essential to promote gender equality in the business industry and support women entrepreneurs by providing them with the resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities they need to succeed. By doing so, we can help create a more inclusive and equitable business environment where women entrepreneurs are empowered to reach their full potential.

The business landscape in Australia is witnessing a significant shift towards diversity and inclusivity, with an increasing number of women venturing into entrepreneurship. Women bring a unique perspective and innovative ideas to the table, which challenge traditional norms and drive positive change. The emergence of female entrepreneurs helps create a more equal society where opportunities are accessible to all, irrespective of gender.

Encouraging greater gender diversity in leadership roles and implementing policies that ensure equal opportunities for women in entrepreneurship is crucial for promoting gender equality. By offering flexible work arrangements and affordable childcare, we can alleviate the caregiving responsibilities that often fall onto women and allow them to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities without compromising their personal or family lives.

By investing in female entrepreneurs, we empower individual entrepreneurs and pave the way for a more fair and equal society where opportunities are truly accessible to all, regardless of gender. It’s time for Australia to take action and ensure that female entrepreneurs receive the support and resources they need to thrive and make their mark on the business industry. 

To learn more about the Afterglow, please visit https://theafterglow.com.au/ 

Ashleigh Potocki is co-founder of The Afterglow.