According to recent reports, although women are close to half (47%) of the total U.S. workforce, hold more post-graduate degrees and managerial positions (52%), only a fraction (5%) of these women become executive leaders (i.e. CEO) at Fortune 500 companies.*
Women are also under-represented in small business. Though more women start businesses, only 3 out of 10 get federal contracts.** Women-owned businesses pump about $3 trillion into the economy. Yet, it takes women owners at least four tries before a bank approves them for a loan or line of credit.
On average, it takes twenty-two attempts for a woman owner to get equity capital. Almost half of women business owners did not seek venture funding.***
If under-representation wasn’t enough, partisan politics are turning back the hands of time where there is a great risk of losing the rights we have valiantly fought for. Do we really want future generations of strong, talented women to have to re-fight for rights won?
Despite the current climate in our country that appears to fear diversity while minorities and women are being treated as second-class citizens, ridiculed and mocked when victimized;
Or when the qualification bar is reset to even higher standards (or lowered to validate the entitled boys’ club) to continue to overlook the pool of well-qualified, talented and educated women? I look at this moment in history as a turning point – an opportunity to re-write the rules that has shackled the advancement of globalization, a culture that judges individuals on the content of her character and not on her race, gender or creed.
Research shows that more women are leaving corporate life in favor of having more control over their lives.**** Whether pursuing other interests or building their own businesses, I applaud these women for choosing to be authentic in their pursuit of their definition of freedom and happiness.
But there is another reason women leave corporate life.
I’m concerned about the women who leave because of the frustration of continual rejection. Not because she is unqualified, but because she is a woman.
I’m troubled about the woman who feels discouraged and has seconded-guess herself because everyone and everything around her is telling her she’s not good enough.
I think about those women whose dreams are to run a Fortune 500 company, but has lost her passion as she wonders aloud whether the crap she deals with is worth it.
Helping these women is Phenomenal Image’s purpose.
We encourage, train, and coach women to push through the barriers preventing them from advancing in the workplace. We coach these women to challenge their fears, renew their passion, embrace their power, and live out loud in their purpose. We help women leaders design a career strategy that will help them achieve their career goals.
My Personal Reasons
On a more personal note, I grew up with three sisters, my mom, and a dad who wanted a son and it showed.
My dad grew up during a time when women performed all the household duties while her husband worked outside the home.
If a woman had to work outside the home, it was traditional jobs (i.e. nurse, secretary).
These jobs are essential and are honorable; but it was not my dream.
My Dad and I butted heads many times as I had plans of going into business and it was just hard for him to see that. I’m not sure whether I unconsciously attempted to appease my family or meet society’s standards, but I tried working traditional jobs in the clerical field.
And I was good at it.
But I was miserable.
Growing up, I observed double standard on women at church, school, on television, in the news and in society. It bothered me and I could not understand why women were treated differently.
I remembered thinking, “How unfair!”
Even now, I continued to observe the marginalization of how women. I see how this divisive culture has caused women to second guess themselves or they work thrice as hard to prove they are qualified.
I’ve seen women question whether they had the skills and abilities for a new position. I’ve also seen where some women decide against submitting their resume for a new position because they don’t think they are qualified.
I understand how these women feel because I’ve been there. I did not want others to feel like they were alone. I wanted to help these women overcome feeling inadequate.
I remember my excitement when talking to my friends encouraging them to go for their dreams and to see them excel. This resonated with me and I found my passion for helping women see themselves as qualified leaders and risk-takers.
All are Welcome
Although we focus on the needs of women in the workplace, men are more than welcomed to work with us. Our coaching system can benefit everyone.
Women – this is our time.
We must continue to pursue our dreams and lead others to do the same. Helping other women take control of their career is my purpose.
If you haven’t done so already, be sure to get your career strategy blueprint to see how you can take actionable steps to become intentional about your career path.
Click on the button below for your blueprint:
*Catalyst. Catalyst Quick Take: Women in U.S. Management and Labor Force. New York: Catalyst, 2017. Retrieved from http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/women-us-management-and-labor-force
**U.S. Women Chamber of Commerce (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.uswcc.org/networks/ViewGroup.aspx?groupId=3
.***Center for Women’s Business Research: Women Impacting Public Policy (n.d.). Women Accessing Capital: Women, Money and Opportunity. Retrieved from http://www.womenaccessingcapital.com/about
****Cabrera, E. F. (2007). Opting out and opting in: Understanding the complexities of women’s career transitions. Career Development International, 12(3), 218-237
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