There’s no question that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has forever altered daily life, but its full impact has yet to be realized. Numerous studies have explored how the COVID-19 pandemic has been harmful to women in business, and research is ongoing. In every industry, women have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and the lines between home and work have become increasingly blurred, making it difficult for us to find balance.
Yet even in the face of adversity, women-owned businesses continue to thrive. Within the United States, the number of businesses helmed by females is on the rise, reports the U.S. Department of Commerce. Startups are particularly popular, for several reasons, and many forward-thinking business owners are taking advantage of digital technology to reach a wider audience and achieve greater financial independence.
Let’s take a look at the unexpected ways in which the pandemic has actually improved the landscape for female business owners and entrepreneurs, and what the future has in store.
Navigating Unexpected Career Changes
Despite the gains, women have made in recent years in regards to gender gaps related to education, job opportunities, and equal pay, we still have a long way to go. Unfortunately, Covid has added unexpected challenges, increasing the burden of childcare for countless working mothers around the world, and forcing many to leave their jobs.
Yet the news isn’t all bad, and there’s plenty of opportunity for women of all ages to get back on track in terms of career success. That’s because not every change brought about by Covid has been a negative one. On a global scale, we’ve seen a few unexpected, positive side effects of Covid as well. The need for social distancing, for example, created a sort of work-from-home movement wherein women can achieve greater career independence.
Studies indicate that the modern career woman can afford to be picky in today’s job market, whether you’re negotiating for a higher salary or taking the startup route. Even better, opportunities exist around the world: According to research from the University of Nevada, Reno, new business startups increased in both the U.S. and Switzerland during 2020, despite having vastly differing economic landscapes and Covid-related policies.
In both nations, many new business permits were submitted by female entrepreneurs. While U.S. data is unavailable, the UNR study saw increased startup activities among Swiss business owners within traditionally female-dominated industries, including education, cosmetology, and other types of personal care.
The Role of Technology on the Business Front
Sadly, however, the picture is a bit different on the healthcare front. A full 70% of the world’s healthcare workers and first responders are women, reports the United Nations. As such, it is women who are more likely to spend their working hours on the front lines of Covid, potentially compromising their health despite unequal pay in many instances. The UN further claims that the global gender pay gap is likely to get worse before it gets better, especially in the health sector.
In every industry, however, women are increasingly using technology to navigate the myriad challenges of owning a business, post-Covid. Your business may be increasingly conducted online in the name of public health, for example, and you may have to change up your business platform entirely. Check out financial and organizational apps that can help you streamline payroll and similar matters, and learn about the latest in payment technology, including apps.
In response to rising inflation and ongoing supply chain issues, business owners are also thinking outside the box in terms of money management, investing in promising alternatives like precious metals and real estate. To new and seasoned investors alike, alternative investments are considered more secure than the stock market, which can be volatile, especially in times of economic and/or social-political uncertainty.
Ensuring a Prosperous Future for Your Business
The good news is that female business owners are rising to the occasion, embracing technology to overcome any challenges that may arise, from a Covid outbreak among your employees to a product shortage. Women are increasingly tech-savvy, in fact, able to navigate the current digital transformation with ease. We Connect International found that 87% of female-owned businesses were able to effectively increase their online communication channels with relative ease in the second half of 2020.
Under Covid, turning your hobby into a business has become more complicated. Now, more than ever, your business plan must be flexible and able to adapt to sudden changes — such as a global pandemic, for example. Take a good look at your current business model, and be willing to take an unfamiliar route if it may ultimately benefit your bottom line. Don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way, and reach out to other female entrepreneurs for guidance.
As a female business leader in a socially distanced world, it’s in your best interest to be prepared for anything, whether related to your finances, employee health, or another factor altogether.
Author’s BIO: Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. She is interested in better living through technology and education. She loves traveling to beautiful places and is frequently lost in a good book.