Women in Business in 2018: Progress, but More to Do


The most recent figures related to women in business are quite significant. According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, there are 9.1 million businesses in the U.S. owned by women, employing 7.9 million staff and generating $1.4 trillion in sales. While these statistics are encouraging for women looking to get into business, there’s much to learn when it comes to knowing more about women in business, what drives their companies, and the challenges that they face.

One step forward, one step back

Grant Thornton’s Women in business: Beyond Policy to Progress 2018 report found that global companies have progressed but also taken steps back with regards to gender diversity. While the number of companies with one woman or more in senior leadership increased significantly, the proportion of senior roles assumed by women declined, albeit marginally. This shows that companies are failing to realize the full benefits of genuine gender diversity – something that is vital at a time when companies are forced to confront disruption. We’re still relying on organizations to go beyond the scope of their own policy in order to promote diversity and create a more inclusive culture in senior management.

Other routes to success

Women are just as savvy as men, and, in 2018, there lies a great number of avenues for them to succeed financially. A number of female entrepreneurs have done very well with online businesses, for example, such as Ladies Who Lunch owner Maria Kritiko. There are also less conventional options, including financial trading. Financial spread betting is tax-free and a way to benefit from both rising and falling markets. It’s less risky than the general perception out there and can encompass automated features including a stop limit sell order, which are often time-saving. A stop limit sell order example might be that you buy ABC stock at $100 per share, but you don’t want to lose anything over $10 per share, so you set a $90 stop-limit order. There’s no shortage of opportunities out there for female entrepreneurs to capitalize on. But one should keep in mind that spread betting is not available in some countries, such as the USA, since it’s outlawed there. But as long as you’re in the UK, you can go for it!

Help available

There are ways for female business owners and entrepreneurs to make a start in business through funding. While many companies formally recognize that women struggle when it comes to equal representation, there are a number of grants that female-led businesses can apply to, including SBA’s InnovateHER, which offers a $70,000 grant to businesses that emphasize innovation.

Women leaders outperforming men

Signs indicate that the economy could benefit from more female-led businesses. A study from 2016 showed a 12% year-on-year revenue. Other studies, including one by Nordea, the Scandinavian bank, revealed that businesses perform better with women at the helm. Nordea further revealed that businesses with women assuming either a chairman or chief executive role performed better than the MSCI World Index- with 35% annualized returns, compared to 11% for the wider market. An analysis from business magazine Fortune revealed results, with returns from female-led businesses outperforming the S&P 500.

Employees benefiting from women CEOs

Employees of businesses with women CEOs are also benefiting. There are a fewer number of layoffs, and a Ketchum Leadership Communication Monitor study revealed that women handle crises more calmly and are better at leading by example- that’s something that employees tend to appreciate.

The numbers don’t lie: women are successful business leaders and entrepreneurs, and there’s no sign that it’s a trend likely to end any time soon.