The Comfort Principle in Female Entrepreneurship
Firstly, I’ll share with you some interesting facts about female entrepreneurship in the UK. Maybe the gap between male entrepreneurs and female entrepreneurs is closing, but it still exists.
UK Female Entrepreneurship: key facts
- Women account for under a third of those in self-employment, but over half the increase in self-employment since the recession started in 2008. Between 2008 and 2011 women accounted for an unprecedented 80% of the new self-employed. (Labour Force Survey, Office of National Statistics 2013).
- There are now almost 1.5 million women self-employed which represents an increase of around 300,000 since before the economic downturn (Women in Enterprise: A Different Perspective, RBS Group 2013).
- Women account for 17% of business owners, ie. owners/ managers/ employers (Labour Force Survey 2008, in Women in Enterprise: A Different Perspective, RBS Group 2013)
- UK Women’s businesses have a higher churn rate (ie. more start-ups and closures). But women are less likely to attribute closure to ‘business failure’ and more likely to cite ‘personal reasons’ – which peak at age 25-34 for women. (Women in Enterprise: A Different Perspective, RBS Group 2013)
- Men are now twice as likely to be entrepreneurially active as women but in 2001 were two and a half times more likely to be entrepreneurially active, ie. involved in the early stages of a new venture. (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, UK Report 2011)
- 10% of the female population are thinking about starting up a business (Women in Business: key facts, Government Equalities Office 2008)
There are of course plenty of factors influencing the entrepreneurship world, but today I wanted to focus on one aspect that matters when we think about women and leadership. What is the cause of the gap between women and men when we speak about leadership?
Among the causes for why women are still not proportionally represented at the top of UK business are what is called: invisible mindsets. These obstacles to gender diversity in the workplace are tough to uproot because they operate at the unconscious level. One unconscious mindset is what in my coaching practice and my workshops, I call the “comfort principle”.
This principle is based on the idea that we all have the understandable preference of being around people with whom we are comfortable. Often that means people with similar backgrounds, ways of thinking, politics and even gender or skin color.
I am not trying to change this principle, I’m just mentioning it to you to highlight that our preferences are already established by our unconscious mind.
Access to informal and formal networks, and having mentors and sponsors, are key to successful climb to the top. Good work assignments provide opportunities for development, experience and exposure. If leaders and managers are unconscious of the comfort principle, they are likely to think first of people with whom they developed comfortable relationships. People most like those leaders and managers gain an advantage if access, mentoring or getting great assignments depends to a large degree on “comfort”. Those with whom the leader is less comfortable (often women and people of color) may be disadvantaged, perpetuating the current demographics of leadership.
Conscious awareness of the comfort principle is its cure. If I acknowledge that I am subject to this natural phenomenon, I can make conscious, deliberate choices. I can stop and consider whether it is influencing my decision about mentoring or assigning work. I can think about what skill sets are needed on a project or who needs an opportunity to gain experience or exposure. I can be (or at least try) more inclusive!
What can women and others affected by the comfort principle do?
***Look up for ways to build comfort. We can notice what the leader has in his or her office that reveals hobbies or family. We can find opportunities to get to know him or her outside the work environment.Sharing social time can build comfort!
This week, we will meet up to speak about Women and Leadership. What makes women feel powerful, limitless and resourceful ?
“Power is the ability of not pleasing everybody else before yourself” – ELIZABETH JANEWAY
Our “Light Up Your Feminine Power” seminar is devoted to reconnecting with Your Real Self — helping you to discover, resource and finally celebrate the fire of your unique flavor of feminine power.
Over the evening course, you’ll celebrate the beauty that you and only you possess.
You’ll experience living in and loving the body you have right now.
You’ll find a safe place to honor your feelings and emotions.
Some of the highlights of the night:
– you’ll learn how to understand the light and shadow aspects of your power so you can enhance and harness both
– You’ll discover how to resource the truth and wisdom of your beautiful body – with way less worry and stress and way more joy and pleasure
– How other women can be your allies instead of your rivals, so your gifts are promoted for you
– How to be your own best friend — creating greater intimacy, trust and integrity in all your relationships
PURCHASE TICKETS HERE: LIGHT UP YOUR FEMININE POWER!
Even if you don’t aspire for a leadership role, organisations need women in their teams, in order to be successful.
1. Hiring women is good for the business
Women’s empowerment is an engine for economic growth in poor countries. This means empowered women can generate a vast amount of wealth that people around the world would be able to spend. There are billions of women and girls with untapped purchasing power. If you want a successful future, then you need to be doing as much as you can to create it—and that means empowering women.
2. The organisations will expand their skills set
You’ll be motivated by the need to think strategically in order to make an impact. Because women think differently, your general business strategy will be more creative, more inclusive and more powerful. Women are gifted with more empathy (or at least they use it more effectively) which makes the business to last longer by creating longer relationships, maybe partnerships with the customers.
3. You will gain valuable insight
As a female business leader sometimes you have to fight to make yourself heard. Women all over the world, no matter what their position in life, are doing the same thing. When women have more power to make decisions, conditions in their communities improve, and their families are healthier and more prosperous. Yet society routinely ignores their knowledge and their ability to solve problems.
From my perspective as someone who works in development, this is what makes investments in women so powerful. When you invest in women, you invest in the people who invest in everybody else. And if you gradually start to take action it won’t be long before you realize that investing in women is good for your mind, good for your soul, and good for your business.
Reading more about confidence and entrepreneurship? Click here: evisioncoaching.co.uk
Don’t forget to join us on 1st of April, “LIGHT UP YOUR FEMININE POWER” Tickets – Feminine Power
Have a great week!
Elite Vision Coaching
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