About More than “just” Female Entrepreneurship

As someone deeply passionate about gender equality and empowerment in the workplace, I often find myself reflecting on the hurdles faced by women in various industries. Recently, I came across Sigrun’s thought-provoking You Tube video on “Why Female Entrepreneurs Do Not Make More Money In Business”.

With my background as an energy expert, scientist, and founder of my own company in the past year and a half, I felt compelled to reflect on these challenges. As a mid-life professional and a mother of three daughters, I am personally invested in creating a more equitable workplace for future generations…am I doing what it takes?

More generally I reflect on what makes mid-life women sometimes struggle to unlock their self-growth agenda, and their potential to reach for the life they truly desire for themselves, both professionally and personally. Having been there myself I know how life coaching acted as a catalyst for deeper changes to occur, and in time, literally transformed my whole life. There is nothing I want more than to support other driven women to get the same for themselves and their world.

Unveiling the Gender Gap: Exploring the Challenges Faced by Women Entrepreneurs in Male-Dominated Industries

Almost 90% of women-owned businesses generate less than $100,000 in revenue annually, with less than 2% exceeding $1 million. This startling statistic raises a crucial question: why are women entrepreneurs, despite their efforts, often held back in their personal and professional growth?

Inspired by Sigrun’s insights on the challenges faced by female entrepreneurs, particularly in relation to their financial success and impact on gender equality, I reflected on the women I coach and their struggles at midlife despite their professional accomplishments. In male-dominated sectors like STEM and finance, which I’m familiar with, women continue to face significant hurdles in advancing their careers and achieving financial success.

In these industries, women continue to encounter significant hurdles despite their talents and qualifications, often facing barriers that hinder their career advancement and financial success, especially at mid-life.

Here are key factors contributing to these challenges:

  1. Treating Career Advancement as Not a Priority: For many mid-life women professionals, their businesses or career aspirations are sometimes “put on hold” and can be perceived as such by their male colleagues who are seemingly willing to “help”. Societal expectations often pressure women to prioritize caregiving roles over professional pursuits, undermining their confidence and long-term commitment to professional goals.
  2. Underinvestment in Personal and Professional Development: Mid-life women professionals may hesitate to invest in their personal and professional development due to competing demands on their time and resources. This reluctance to invest in themselves and their careers hinders their ability to break through glass ceilings and achieve their full potential.
  3. Fear of “Shaking the Boat” & Taking Risks: The mid-life stage often brings a heightened sense of risk aversion, partly due to exhaustion from needing to excel on multiple fronts. Many women become more cautious about taking bold career leaps, fearing they may upset the delicate balance of juggling family responsibilities with career aspirations. This reluctance to embrace uncertainty limits their willingness to pursue leadership positions or new professional ventures, perpetuating gender disparities in male-dominated industries.
  4. Using Family as an Excuse: Balancing family and professional responsibilities poses unique challenges for mid-life women professionals, who may feel compelled to prioritize caregiving duties over career advancement. Citing family obligations as reasons for not pursuing leadership roles further perpetuates gender imbalances.
  5. Comfort with Status Quo: After achieving a certain level of career success, mid-life women professionals may become complacent, feeling content with their current circumstances. Emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion contribute to this comfort with the status quo, preventing them from taking risks and exploring new opportunities for growth and advancement.

How Coaching can Support the Mid-life Professional and Personal Transition

By addressing these barriers through coaching at all stages of their careers, women in male-dominated industries can unlock their full potential, break through glass ceilings, and thrive in their careers.

However, it’s not just about individual growth; coaching also plays a crucial role in driving systemic change. Insights from the AC podcast episode titled “Effective Strategies for Coaching Women in Male-Dominated Sectors with Ellie Highwood” underscore the importance of this holistic approach. Coach and Diversity and Inclusion Consultant, Ellie Highwood, shares invaluable perspectives on navigating the challenges faced by women in male-dominated sectors.

From recognizing intersectionality to collaborating with male leaders for long-term structural reforms, coaching extends beyond individual sessions to shape inclusive workplaces.

And YOU? What barriers do you see hindering your aspirations? Do you resonate with any of these challenges in your life?

If you’re ready to overcome these challenges and accelerate your career growth, I invite you to explore how coaching with me can support you on your journey to success.

Together, though your success, we contribute to creating inclusive workplaces and empowering (more) women to thrive.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Sophie



Sigrun. (September 2023). This Holds 90% Of Female Entrepreneurs Back From Making More Money In Business [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVzEaZtfr6Q&t=326s

Association for Coaching. (2023, August 28). Effective Strategies for Coaching Women in Male-Dominated Sectors with Ellie Highwood [Audio podcast episode]. Retrieved from https://www.associationforcoaching.com/page/coaching-women-podcast-series-male-dominated-sectors