Can Our Feminine Nature Be Holding Us Back?

Businesswoman at workplaceThere are many challenges that women are facing in business but could some of them be inherent in us? According to the chief executive of WomenCertified, Delia Passi, they could. Just think about the things that make us women — we’re more emotional than men, we are by nature mothers, so we have a more nurturing attitude in life, and all this could hold us back. Emotionality may become an obstacle when tough decisions need to be made and our tendency to focus on relationship-building in business could distract us from the main focus which should be on business goals, Passi says, noting that building productive relationships is essential for business success, nevertheless. All this sounds fine and credible, and it is, but at the same time it carries a whiff of stereotyping. While it’s a fact that there are purely physiological differences between men and women that to a greater or lesser extent affect our behavior, it is within our powers to identify our potential weaknesses and overcome them, especially when it comes to striking out on our own in the corporate world. Did you know that the greatest problem women face when deciding to start a business is their fear of failure? This is what the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2012 Women’s Report found. Granted, fear of failure is the number one horror of all entrepreneurs, but it seems that it’s stronger for women. The author of the report, entrepreneurship professor Candida Brush, explains it with the fact that the degree of education women have doesn’t always seem to have a bearing on their confidence with regard to starting their own business. It may be that their education has not been in the field of entrepreneurship, causing doubts about what they can accomplish as business leaders, she says. One other major issue for women entrepreneurs is the lack of enough role models. Although there are millions of businesses run by women, they are still a minority and that can also dampen the confidence of aspiring female business leaders. However, there are some and perhaps what we focus on should be the quality of women business leaders, rather than quantity, especially since those few can also be an example of how those innate obstacles can be dealt with. Look at IBM, a corporate behemoth run by a woman, Virginia Rometty, which recently announced it will be undertaking significant downsizing. That’s probably one of the toughest decisions any business leader has to make, yet she made it, in spite of those aspects of our feminine nature that make it hard for us to do such things. It’s all about changing attitudes. Just because women tend to be more emotional and nurturing doesn’t mean that all women are overly emotional and nurturing. Many women have demonstrated successfully that they can thrive in the corporate world, and the fact that there are fewer women than men should not discourage women from following in their footsteps. After all, the only way to tip the scales is to go into business. Believing in yourself and believing that just because you were born a woman does not mean you are weak and excessively emotional is a good start.   Sources: