Overcoming Gender-Based Barriers When Starting a Business


Opening your own business is an amazing accomplishment. Yet, many women feel defeated by the barriers that society creates and continues to perpetuate. If you have an idea for a business and you believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything. You may just need a little bit more help to get there. Keep reading to learn some simple strategies you can use to overcome gender-based barriers when starting a business.

Working With Ethical Lenders

If you are exploring your options when it comes to business loans, you should try to work with ethical lenders who don’t discriminate based on gender. According to Lendio, fewer women get business loans than men. There’s a chance that if you try going to the same bank that you’ve always dealt with, you might run into a loan officer who has an unconscious bias and rejects your application based on the fact that you’re a woman.¬†

Another way you can find business loans is by using an online loan marketplace. With this strategy, you’ll fill out just one application and discover a variety of business loans you can take advantage of. 

Finding Mentors in Your Industry

It can be very difficult to open a business when you feel alone and isolated, which is why it’s important to find mentors in your industry. Especially as a woman, you will face unique challenges that men don’t understand. Whether it’s related to raising your children, the gender wage gap, or other forms of gender discrimination, it’s easier to navigate the obstacles when you know someone who has done it before you. 

Finding other women in your industry is not going to be easy. You will probably have to get outside of your comfort zone to do so. Some ways you can discover other women business owners include:

  • Joining your local chamber of commerce¬†
  • Participating in community events
  • Attending industry expos
  • Using social media
  • Finding women-focused groups

Networking With Other Women

Even if you don’t find a mentor in your industry right away, you should work on developing a network of women who support you and your business. Women supporting women is the best way to achieve success. Whether you join a working mothers’ group or have a book club, staying connected to other women is a must.

The important thing about having a network is that you can always turn to them when you need advice and solutions for the problems that come up while you’re running your business. Historically, women have faced barriers to accessing events and entering various industries. By keeping your circle of women broad and diverse, you will have a lot of support to help you grow your business.

Sharing Childcare Responsibilities

One of the toughest aspects of being a woman and a business owner is how to manage childcare, which is why you must work on sharing domestic responsibilities with your partner. If you have children, you know how difficult it is to balance your priorities. You want to make sure that you are present in your children’s lives, but you also want to act as a positive role model by pursuing your own career. 

Society has probably convinced you that to be a good mother, you have to put your children first, always. But society also keeps women from succeeding as professionals. The gender wage gap continues to persist, and universal childcare seems to be a pipedream.

Society doesn’t support working mothers, so you have to decide to pursue your dreams on your own terms. This means you have to communicate to your partner that you want to share responsibilities so that you can run your business.

Women really do face barriers when it comes to opening businesses. By acknowledging the obstacles, you can find solutions that work for you. Whether it means that you return to school to get an Associate’s degree in business or you work with a loan provider who specifically supports women-owned businesses, there are real and practical ways to face these challenges and overcome them.


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