While we often hear about the challenges that women face in the workplace, there are specific challenges that underrepresented women face which are unique and must be acknowledged.
In this blog, I will discuss five such challenges. Each of these challenges can present a unique set of difficulties for underrepresented women striving to build a successful business. By understanding these challenges, I hope that business players, and even those in the public sector, show more support and give more opportunities for women of colour.
If you’re an underrepresented woman entrepreneur reading this, know that you’re not alone in facing these hurdles. Here are five of the most common ones.
1) Women of colour are often left out of mainstream business conversations
Mainstream business conversations tend to focus on the experiences of white men. This leaves out the unique perspectives and challenges that underrepresented women face. When underrepresented women do manage to voice their opinions, they are often ignored or not taken seriously. This can be extremely frustrating and demoralising, especially when trying to build a successful business.
2) They face unique challenges when it comes to funding and networking
Underrepresented women often have difficulty accessing the same level of funding and networking opportunities as their white counterparts. This is due to a variety of factors, such as lack of mentors, social capital, and racism. As a result, they often have to work twice as hard to get their businesses off the ground.
3) Their businesses are often overlooked by major corporations
Major corporations often overlook underrepresented women when it comes to partnering or investing in new businesses. This is due to a number of biases, including the belief that underrepresented women are not as competent or capable as white men. As a result, underrepresented women miss out on valuable opportunities to grow their businesses.
4) They have to work twice as hard to be taken seriously
Underrepresented women often have to prove themselves repeatedly in order to be taken seriously in the business world. They may be asked to provide extra evidence of their competence or skills, and they may be passed over for opportunities because of assumptions about their abilities. This can be extremely frustrating and discouraging, but underrepresented women continue to fight for their place in the business world.
5) They are the backbone of the economy, yet they continue to be marginalised
In spite of representing a significant portion of the workforce, women of colour earn less than white men and are more likely to live in poverty. They also face greater obstacles in securing loans and credit, and are less likely to own homes or businesses. This economic inequity has far-reaching consequences, limiting women of colour’s ability to provide for their families and invest in their communities.
These are just some of the unique challenges that underrepresented women face in business. It’s important to acknowledge these challenges so that we can begin to address them. Only then can we create a level playing field for underrepresented women entrepreneurs.