From education to employment

Girls Are More Likely to See Gender as Barrier to Becoming the Boss – New Research Reveals

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  • More than three quarters (76%) of girls say they’d like to start their own business, but still perceive greater barriers than boys
  • The data underlines the importance of an event being held at 10 Downing Street on International Women’s Day. Hosted by Akshata Murty, successful entrepreneur and wife to Rishi Sunak, it provides mentorship to young women of school age
  • National Women’s Enterprise Week (NWEW), an initiative sponsored by Dorsett Hospitality International that looks to empower and support female entrepreneurialism, also opens its applications for its incubator programme, giving female entrepreneurs invaluable training, mentorship and cash prizes
  • NWEW announces Akshata Murty as their Lead Judge and Mentor

New research revealed ahead of International Women’s Day (IWD), finds that girls are ten times more likely than boys of their age to think their gender will put them at a disadvantage in becoming a boss. This is despite more than three quarters (76%) saying they’d like to start their own business one day and 64% seeing themselves in a leadership position in the future.

The research, commissioned by the National Women’s Enterprise Week (NWEW) in partnership with Sapio Research, polled 500 teens aged between 14 and 18 and found that despite the entrepreneurial ambitions of girls today, they still perceive greater barriers for themselves than boys when it comes to their future career prospects.

Challenges persist for future women entrepreneurs

Nearly 7 in 10 (68%) young people would rather be their own boss than work for someone else, this is slightly higher for boys (70%) than for girls (66%). Yet girls (51%) are more likely to say that becoming a boss or owning their own business sounds stressful or that they are not confident enough (40%), in comparison to boys (40%; 34% respectively).

Although gender expectations around caring responsibilities alongside a career are changing, girls are more than twice as likely than boys to say that they don’t think they can run their own business or be a boss alongside having a family. They are also twice as likely to cite the need for childcare as a barrier to starting their own business.

Education and role models are key

The data shows that children are more encouraged by their parents (67%) than by their teachers (39%) to consider owning their own business, highlighting a greater need for education and empowerment around entrepreneurship in schools.

In line with this, Akshata Murty will be hosting an IWD themed Lessons at 10 event on 8th March, bringing together teenage girls for a “speed mentoring” session with a range of women entrepreneurs and business owners. Lessons at 10 is an initiative started by Mrs Murty that gives children from across the country the opportunity to go behind the scenes of the famous black door at 10 Downing Street and aims to bring education to life. The IWD session this Friday is designed to inspire and educate girls about entrepreneurship and leadership.

Highlighting the importance of female representation and role models for young people which the Lessons at 10 session intends to inspire, the research finds that over half (55%) of the young people polled believe that bosses are mostly male with under 2 in 5 (37%) saying it’s evenly split.

This is underlined by the finding that knowing someone who has their own business increases the likelihood of young people saying that they would like to own a business or see themselves becoming a boss one day.

Alison Cork MBE, founder of National Women’s Enterprise Week and mentor for Lessons at 10, said:

“I’m inspired by the entrepreneurial drive of young people that our research shows. However, it also finds that this next generation of female business owners and bosses perceive there still to be barriers standing in their way. Representation is key and the actions female leaders take now will help to alleviate the challenges for the next generation that women in business still face. This is why I’m hugely excited to be involved with Akshata Murty’s initiative, Lessons at 10, to provide important mentorship and inspiration for young women to achieve their ambitions.”

Akshata Murty commented:

It’s wonderful to see research highlighting the enthusiasm and entrepreneurial spirit of young people in the UK. However, there is clearly work to be done to support young women, who perceive the challenges to be greater for them than their male friends and counterparts.

There are incredible female entrepreneurs and business leaders in this country. I’m very pleased that Lessons at 10 will provide an opportunity for budding entrepreneurs to meet and learn from such a wide range of role models. I am in no doubt that these impressive women, these pioneers, will break down barriers and inspire the next generation.”

National Women’s Enterprise Week opens applications for Incubator Programme

National Women’s Enterprise Week (NWEW), an initiative that looks to empower and support female entrepreneurialism, today announces that applications are now open for their incubator programme, Women’s Launch Lab (WLL). National Women’s Enterprise Week takes place 17th – 21st June 2024.

Courtesy of lead sponsor Dorsett Hospitality International, the WLL incubator programme offers female founders access to exclusive resources and mentorship to jumpstart their business ideas, before pitching their vision to a panel of venture capitalists and angel investors. Two cash prizes will be awarded to one start-up and one scale-up business, with Akshata Murty leading the judging panel alongside Winnie Chiu JP, President and Executive Director of Dorsett Hospitality International.

10 free spaces are available, within two different training categories of Start-up and Scale-up across five regions spanning the UK. The free incubator programme will include accommodation in London’s Dorsett Shepherds Bush hotel, along with food, drink & travel expenses. Apply here now, applications close 30th April 2024 at midnight. 

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