I think we can all agree that everyone has heard of the “Glass Ceiling” for women in corporate America. Although, it seems taboo to discuss it now after the recent anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, let’s face it, there is still a gender gap; especially in business.
A few years ago, I was called to be considered for a keynote speaking opportunity at a financial summit in Texas. I was overjoyed as they wanted me to develop a presentation for over 400 women who were business owners, industry suppliers and entrepreneurs seeking ways to save more and increase their revenue. I thought to myself, “Great! This is my specialty.” They asked me to do a live demonstration about 6 months before the presentation and I literally was jumping to the ceiling. I arrived at the venue and start to pitch my research to a group of men who were the decision makers for this women’s based event.
I started the presentation and within five minutes, they interrupted me and said, “do you realize you are speaking to women in business?” I responded, “yes” with a smile. That is when I learned the ultimate lesson. They said “your presentation is way too masculine for our audience. Women need to know things such as cutting coupons and opening up a checking account, not investments and wealth management.” They asked me to water down the presentation and resubmit. I kindly declined the opportunity.
The thought that women in business were only capable of learning how to cut coupons and open up free checking accounts just did not seem right to me. In fact, I started to second guess my decision and went to confirm this with another business advisor, and he said “when it comes to women in business and finance, they are almost 30 years behind their male competition if they do not have successful male mentorship.” My jaw dropped in shock, but it made sense.
As a business consultant, I work with women who remain in doubt when it comes to their success. Women are starting businesses at a rapid rate, but lack the confidence to ask for money and mentorship. For many women, comfort plays a key role in the way they approach mentorship. Within my own business consultancy, I connect with women who are terrified of taking risks in order to achieve large returns. The major resistance I encounter with my clients is the ability to form profitable partnerships based on performance and not relationships.
So what is the Confidence Factor? Well, women are now leaving the workplace and stepping into the small business market to build a name for themselves. According to a recent study I read on the BB&T Wealth Management blog, women have more interruptions in life than men; pregnancy, parental caregiver and underemployment. I am not speculating, but this may be a contributing factor why women have a longer journey in business. I believe women can truly build empires but it starts with one confident decision at a time. We need to stop second guessing and depending on validation from others in order to get into rooms with key decision makers that can impact the growth of our businesses. As long as women continue to be the victim of “coupon cutting” to save for business, it will be difficult to change the glass ceiling history that seems to plague us when we are approaching profitable partnerships. It is time for women to embrace change with confidence. There are doors that open when you are confident, while others close due to fear.
Learn more about The Confidence Factor: Gaining the confidence to ask for more, demand more and charge more. Live Session presented by Speaker Carol Sankar inside the SistaSense Power Circle – Fierce, Focused, Fired Up Live Webinar Conference.
Power Circle Expert Carol Sankar – the Millionaire Mindset Entrepreneurship Coach, is an internationally recognized business coach & consultant, trainer, author and speaker. www.carolsankar.com