Bossy, stubborn, pushy, cold. These are common words used to label female leaders, but not generally used to describe their male counterparts. Often, any defining characteristics used are more so directly linked to a woman’s likability rather than her ability to lead. This ingrained societal behaviour continues gender biases and impacts confidence levels, while further increasing difficulties for women looking to achieve higher positions, like being overlooked for promotion. We all have unconscious biases that can create barriers instead of an inclusive environment that promotes based on performance instead of preconceived notions. It’s vital for us to all take our word choices into careful consideration because, whether intentional or not, it can come across as demeaning, biased, and discriminatory. With the lens of female leadership, it’s important to understand how gender bias and ingrained speech mannerisms negatively impact one gender while solely benefitting the other.
Challenges women face in entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial activity; the impacts of the increased presence of women in the Canadian economy. Do you remember what made you pursue entrepreneurship? For me, it was as a child. My mom would take me with her to work where I would set up pretend businesses or ‘help out’. Later, it was watching my parents begin their own companies or help/consult with other startups. They would entertain me by explaining their business plans, or what they were working on, and answer my endless questions. But, my exposure to startups in my formative years wasn’t limited to my parents. I was very fortunate, growing up, to have many family role models for business ownership. It was witnessing all of them exhibit a striking combination of determination, hard work, and an ability to create, which was vital in stoking my enthusiasm for entrepreneurial pursuits.