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  • Writer's pictureMarion Burchell

How have you seen the landscape change for women in business throughout your career?

Times are changing. The women of today stand on the shoulders of those that have gone before us. The brave women (and men) who challenged the social structures, norms and rules to ensure progress towards equal opportunity has meant the women of today have fay greater prospects than previous generations.

As a result new trends are emerging as women begin to chose their own path.

There now appears to be phases in people's lives, where people (to borrow phrase from Gwyneth Paltrow) chose to consciously couple and uncouple at different points in time. Conscious coupling may be for company, for building assets or for creating a family, with conscious uncoupling focused on the pursuit of bettering oneself, or simply coming to a cross road and choosing a different direction.

This is expressed in the increase statistic of women in their 50s and over going their own separate way and pursuing other interests. (Note, this does have unintended consequences in the lack of superannuation and assets due to their inability to earn and pursue genuine careers).

The workplace was very different when I first started. The predominant demographic was middle-aged male. I recall a conversation out in the field one-day where one male colleague admitted that they did not know how to act with professional women as up until recently women worked in administrative roles.

I saw women return from maternity leave being demoted due to their part time status despite their capabilities. Parental leave was only for women so many made the sacrifice.

There is now a greater focus on choice.  The move from maternity leave to parental leave allows for flexibility and allows both parents to forge a bond with their child. It also allows families to make decisions based on what works best for them.

For all the progress that has been made, the pandemic has impacted women, with layoffs, higher rates of unemployment and increased childcare costs.

There is now a trend for women of all ages to forge their own path - the trailblazers.

Perhaps we are frustrated by a system that inherently does not value our contribution or skills. Perhaps women have had enough of working too hard for little reward (as evident by the gender pay gap). Maybe we are driven by other causes like showing our daughters, nieces, young girls that there is such as things as a lady boss. Or maybe they know what the status quo looks like for them and have decided to re-write the rules and forge their own path.

There has been a significant increase in female-led businesses and female investors. This is important as women founders tend to seek out female investors (e.g. angels, VCs or women on VC firms) and vice versa.  Women-led companies are outperforming the market with their value rising 143.6% from 2020.

Female business ownership has increased by 46% in two decades. It is clear there are strong market opportunities, especially in markets traditionally under-served by male-led businesses. Women are seeing these opportunities as they setup and scale businesses like never before.

There's no time like the present for women to pursue their dreams and create a positive impact on the world. We owe it to the next generation so they can stand on our shoulders.

About Marion

Marion is a highly experienced and accomplished strategy, innovation and leadership professional with a focus on the enterprise and government sectors. She is a trusted advisor to CEOs and senior executives, providing practical and pragmatic solutions to the challenges they face. Marion is the Managing Director at Azolla Holdings Pty Ltd, a Board member, thought leader and member of an international entrepreneur association.


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