The Importance of Online Representation for Female Entrepreneurs
Michelle Koeppen & Catriona McAllister
“We must raise both the ceiling and the floor” ― Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook
The Female Movement
Over the last decade there has been a shift around gender equality and equal pay. Both men and women have recognised, to an extent, that there are very powerful women doing extraordinary things. In today’s society women are regularly featured in the media. Moreso, various online fields now exist to specifically feature women on the internet; such as female only magazines, websites and social channels. Female Empowerment Movements are further encouraging the creation of more female-oriented platforms. In particular, women who want to represent typically male associated interests can now attend conferences and events aimed at promoting women in that field, in order to exchange with light-minded people and thus, to supercharge their career. A key example of this is Women on the Web, a digital platform that enables women to embrace the technological world which has traditionally been controlled by men.
However, related to business founding, women are dramatically underrepresented. Less than one in five small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK are led by women. This means that women represent only one third of all entrepreneurs in the UK despite outnumbering men by around 1 million females. Despite making progress in the acceptance of females, there is still a long way to go for female entrepreneurs.
You Cannot Be What You Cannot See
Female business leaders are not supported or encouraged into entrepreneurship in the same way as their male counterparts. Numerous women who try to launch a business constantly have to defy stereotypes and overcome others’ expectations of their role in the working society, particularly in relation to juggling family life and business, managing money and more. Women especially have to prove healthy financial returns in their businesses, compared to their male counterparts in order to be seen as credible and influential.
Female entrepreneurs should enjoy a better representation in both traditional and digital media. In 2015, only 26% of total news coverage featured women, compared to their male counterparts who were featured 74%. In order to close the visibility gap of female entrepreneurship, women deserve access to build a wider network within the target group they want to reach, and hence, reach broader audiences.
The Power of the Internet
Attracting and communicating to peers can nowadays be done easiest online, as the internet is a great social equaliser.
30 billion pieces of content are shared on facebook every month and globally
500 million tweets are posted a day on twitter
90% of people trust earned social media recommendations over advertising
450 million people promote their networks professionally on LinkedIn
These facts prove the power and influence of social amplification via social media. Furthermore, they speak for the importance of increasing visibility in order to successfully sell online.
Depending on which social media channel is most representative for your brand, there are a range of support networks to empower women and their economic potential. The power of the “crowd” and the collaborative economy to which it is promoted enables the number of female entrepreneurs worldwide to grow.
A strong visible presence and a resulting network of supporters can help women to get access to the finance, skills markets and further professional networks that men are privy to. Whether a small startup or a large corporation, being visible is the crucial factor in enabling you to broaden the influence of your business and your brand
Women have made some incredible contributions to the business world in the last few years alone and should be supported further in a serious business life.
“Your value will be not what you know; it will be what you share.”― Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM