Culture 22 May 2019
In a world where men continue to dominate positions of cultural, economic, and political leadership in America and across the globe, gender equality can sometimes feel light years away. And while individuals and organizations are working towards a future where women will no longer have to fight for a seat at the table, it's important to remember our foremothers who set the foundation for today's activism.
Even when there was no path to follow back then, they blazed a trail and paved the way for our efforts today. We've got a long way to go, but if these women can help shape America for the better, then there's no reason why we can't make a positive dent in history, too.
As the first woman aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Amelia Earhart challenged the traditional stereotypes of her time. She went on to receive the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross for her extraordinary accomplishment, after moving on to break many more records and document her experiences in fascinating books. Sadly, her life was cut short when she and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared in 1937 while attempting to fly around the globe. To this day, the San Francisco Chronicle states that the mystery of her disappearance still captivates people everywhere.
Sitting down when and where you are not supposed to may seem like just a simple act of defiance, but CNN states that it was enough to be a pivotal catalyst in America's civil rights movement. In 1955, Rosa Parks made history when she refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man — a custom that was expected in the time of segregated buses — and was slapped with a civil disobedience charge. Parks came to be known as "the mother of the freedom movement" and continued her activism throughout her life, playing a major role in the Montgomery bus boycott and serving as a symbol of the historic movement.
We all know the story of the first man on the moon, but what many don't know is that it was a woman who put him there. Margaret Hamilton was a 24-year-old mathematics graduate who worked in a lab despite living at a time when women were discouraged from going into highly technical work. Despite this, she eventually led a team credited for developing the software behind Apollo and Skylab — pioneering one of the most groundbreaking and epic accomplishments in human history.
Best known for her stark contributions to the Lewis and Clark expeditions in the American West, Sacagawea has since become a symbol for women's independence. A woman from the Lemhi Shoshone tribe, she traveled thousands of miles, crossing North Dakota all the way to the Pacific Ocean. On the way, she established cultural contracts with Native Americans. An article on Thought Co claims that no other Native American woman has more statues in her honor. Not only is her portrait on the new dollar coin, but monuments of her can be seen in public schools, lakes, and parks.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Hot on the heels of her graduation from Cornell University, Ruth Bader Ginsburg wasted no time and decided to get her law degrees from both Harvard and Columbia law schools. She then went on to become a professor at some of the most esteemed law schools in America, but she was even more instrumental at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), where she helped establish the Women's Rights Project. In 1980, Ginsburg was nominated to the Supreme Court by then President Bill Clinton. During her tenure, she was known to be incredibly outspoken and not afraid to express opinion when needed, earning her a well-deserved place in Special Counsel's feature on female trailblazers in the legal profession. To this day, Justice Ginsburg continues to use her voice to mold the course of America's history.
3 Min Read
I think we can all agree that we are living in unprecedented times, and many of us are experiencing challenges in both our personal and professional lives. But it is important to remember that often, challenging moments present opportunities for change. Right now, companies and individuals are using this time to rethink how they conduct their business, the resources critical to their success, and how they go about their daily activities. And what we are seeing is that more and more people, especially women, are taking control of their lives by starting their own businesses.
While it is estimated that the number of women-owned businesses is one-quarter to one-third of all enterprises worldwide, there are still many women who aspire to make entrepreneurship a reality. A new Herbalife Nutrition survey conducted by OnePoll of 9,000 women across 15 countries, including 2,000 women in the U.S., found that globally, 72% of women want to open their own business. Of those, 50% don't yet have a business and 22% have one but would like to open another.
Women want to have more control over their future, but they are committed to helping future generations by being a role model for younger women; 80% believe this is a strong motivating factor.
The second annual survey, which explores women and entrepreneurship globally, revealed the overwhelming challenges women experience in the traditional workplace compared to their male colleagues. In fact, more than 60% of women said they would like to start a business due to unfair treatment in previous job roles. Of the women surveyed, 7 in 10 believe that women must work harder to have the same opportunities as men in the workforce. Results also revealed that 43% of women have delayed having children because they thought it would negatively affect their career, and 25% said they had faced pregnancy discrimination. 42% believe they've been unfairly overlooked for a raise or promotion because of their gender — and of those, the average respondents had it happen three separate times. These are a few of the challenges that have been a catalyst for the surge in entrepreneurship among women.
The irony is that startups founded and cofounded by women performed better than their men counterparts: on average women-owned firms generated 10% higher cumulative revenue over five years, compared with men.
With the barriers and negative experiences women cited in the workforce, it is not surprising that across the globe, the top motivation for starting a business is to run it themselves (61%). Women want to have more control over their future, but they are committed to helping future generations by being a role model for younger women; 80% believe this is a strong motivating factor.
But the women surveyed don't expect entrepreneurship to be smooth sailing: one-third of women with plans for entrepreneurship are "very worried" about their business — or future business — failing in the next five years. The top three challenges when starting a business center around finances — earning enough money to offset costs, having enough budget to grow, and financing their business. And when it comes to financing, women face stark disparities in the capital they often need to fund their business. Boston Consulting Group found that women entrepreneurs averaged $935,000 in investments, which is less than half the average of $2.1 million invested in companies founded by men entrepreneurs. The irony is that startups founded and cofounded by women performed better than their men counterparts: on average women-owned firms generated 10% higher cumulative revenue over five years, compared with men.
Women entrepreneurs create a source of income for themselves and their families. They are a vital part of our world's economic engine that society needs to support with flexible opportunities, mentorship, and access to capital. Herbalife Nutrition is proud that more than half of our independent distributors worldwide are women who set up their businesses and decide when and where they work and do so on their terms. We need to invest in women entrepreneurs, not only to help one generation, but to offer role models for the next.