I’ve spent the better part of the past year having in-depth conversations with women…
This has always been part of my career because for the past 15 years I’ve been working, researching and developing mindset programs and trainings, tack on executive coaching and I’ve been a shoe-in for women sharing their stories with me, searching for direction and betterment – I’ve prided myself on providing value to them. I haven’t always specialized in working with women, I’ve worked with athletes both male and female, corporate executives of both gender, entrepreneurs, health professionals – you name it – we’ve all got issues.
What changed for me and why I pivoted my perfectly sound practice and career was that 2 years ago I heard a statistic that virtually rocked me to the core. When I was asked to be a speaker at a Women’s event in the US and it was at this conference that I first heard the statistic that only 2% of women-owned businesses are earning 7 figures.
I didn’t believe it
I went home from that conference and I started digging. I’m a researcher by nature – I want to know facts and data and why. Even as a child I always wanted to know why… So not only did I find that stat, I then began finding data on gender diversity in corporate, white papers from law practices like Osler, disclosing women in leadership roles on TSX-listed companies, McKinsey Reports on the power of parity and how the economy would benefit if gender parity was achieved but the data itself is what was alarming to me.
Numerous studies highlighted the positive correlations between gender diversity in management and strong financial performance.
Here’s the problem. It’s the end of 2017 and the stats have only marginally improved. The number of women entrepreneurs has increased but that the statistic that only 2% of those women run business will reach 7 figures remains the same.
What is going wrong? Why isn’t this changing…Why do we have more people talking about gender parity and our results are stuck at a standstill?
I just couldn’t wrap my head around it or understand how women burned bras for gender equality before I was even born and there is now a great possibility that my daughter will still struggle with the same issues. So then I started speaking with women outside of my practice – it wasn’t for clients, it was out of mere curiosity. I wanted to know what’s really going on that we haven’t moved the needle.
I’ve spoken with almost 300 women at this point. Let me share with you what women are saying…
The response goes something like this:
“Andrea – sometimes I have these waves of clarity where it’s just so apparent – usually I’m in another pointless meeting or conference call, and that’s when the voice inside my head starts screaming – “What are you doing??? This is pointless and boring and no one even cares that you’re here! Andrea, it’s that voice inside my head that’s screaming at me saying I should be at home with my kids like my mother-in-law shames me for…it’s the voice inside my head that says I should be out doing something I love…why am I not doing what I love? And then every time it hits me because we need the money and the stability.”
“I’m miserable and overwhelmed. I’m grateful for the opportunities but if I could give half of it back I would.” The next conversation I hear is this one and there are 3 versions that are similar: “Andrea, I was in corporate – I was groomed for c-suite but I was pushed out. Or I left because my parents needed me to take care of them. Or I left because my kids needed me… I’m smart and accomplished so I started my own business. I need to get the word out but to do so I need more money, and there’s no way I can get capital, even though the government says they’re helping women entrepreneurs – you still have to front your own money.
You also hear this: I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I’ve had a service based business for years. 1:1 is how I’ve worked but I’m stuck because you only have so many hours in a day so I can’t scale. My income is literally capped by hours in a day and my exhaustion.
Now I’m an empathetic person. I’ve always been. I’d get off the phone and I’d hear how stuck and frustrated these women were and I’d think to myself ok this can’t be how everyone is feeling. I must have a sample that’s just too small. Where are the similarities…what are the differences? What is the reasoning for this sense of isolation and despair – I just kept asking why…
I looked into the happiness factor and studies now show that women are struggling.
1 in 4 is on anti-depressants 1 in 3 uses alcohol to take the edge off According to a McKinsey Report helping women reach their economic potential will make a 12 trillion influx into the global economy.
How do we move the needle?
And then I started thinking – what if it just comes down to the most simplistic answer? What if collaboration is the pivot to parity?
To collaborate means to join forces, band together, pool resources and put your heads together.
What collaboration does is it recognizes and celebrates an individual’s contribution for a greater collective whole. What if instead of re-inventing the wheel, or continuing to push through it, what if we take the figurative armour off and instead we show up for each other the way tribes used to. Instead, we start actively looking for women and women’s ideas to invest in, reaching out to them, supporting them and turning the tables on the woman needing to do it all on their own to get there…
CEO & Founder of Wealthy Woman Warrior™
Andrea created her proprietary mindset training, Power To Thrive™ over 15 years ago. We're now in a time where one's environment is constantly changing and pushing people mentally to their limits - if you don't have tools in place to help you navigate disruption, you simply need to get it. Invest in your mind and your success will follow.
Andrea Carter is on a mission to empower 1 million women to reach their economic potential by 2025. She believes that through collaboration and these 5 pillars women can rise to relevance.
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