The Future of Women in Business and Politics

by Dr. R. Kay Green

When it comes to women leaders, be they business owners or politicians, we still have a lot of work to do.

Certainly, we have made strides in recent years. A recent study shows that 40 percent of businesses are owned by women, a large leap from 29 percent in 2007. There are 25 women serving on the U.S. Senate, a historic high for America, and 102 women serve as voting members of the House of Representatives currently in the 116th Congress.

But for all the work we have done when it comes to getting equality, more is still needed. Glass ceilings and pay gaps still very much exist, and more work is needed for women in business and politics to truly be seen as equals.

For example, the study on women-owned businesses noted that while the number of businesses are growing, revenue is not growing at the same rate. In other words, women are making significantly less than their male counterparts.

How will we solve this?

Obviously, real change has to happen at a societal level. But there are things that women can do when they are in leadership positions, particularly when running businesses, to help set a good example and move progress along.

The first and most obvious step is to charge what you are worth. Do not let anyone haggle you down or make you feel like your work is worth less because of who you are. Do not be afraid to ask your colleagues how much they charge, so that you can make sure that you are charging the industry standard.

Talking about money is often seen as taboo, but it is these sorts of systems that allow things like the pay gap to continue. By being open and honest with friends about how much you make, you can ensure that you are not charging too much or not enough.

Beyond money, we need to support each other. Do not tear other women down for how they look or dress. This only perpetuates the system that values us based on looks alone.

Be a mentor for and seek mentorship from women around you. By connecting with each other, we can empower and be empowered, and make sure that the next generation of women know that they are worth just as much as their male counterparts. They will be treated better because they will know that they deserve it.

Finally, learn to value yourself. This ties into charging what you are worth and not feeling the need to cut down on other women, but it can mean so much more than that. Because when we value ourselves, we are able to recognize when things are unfair, and we are able to speak out about it because we know that we deserve better.

Women do not need to apologize for taking up space or existing. We have just as much of a right to live, and to lead, as anyone.

There is a future for women in business and politics where we are treated equally. But it is not the kind of future that can happen overnight. Examine yourself and your biases, and do not be afraid to ask the people around you to do the same. Surround yourself with people who support you, and lead by example.

No matter what you do, whether you are running your own business or running for office, be bold, be brave, and be unapologetically you.




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