Women’s Success at Work
By Tanis Helliwell
“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” –Victor Hugo
This article focuses on the current situation of women and work. I will examine the qualities that successful women have stated have helped with their success and the common problems they face. These qualities are, of course, not limited to women and men may have them as well and in my experience many do. I do not wish to see female-dominated organizations any more than male-dominated ones. Neither is better. I am suggesting a restoration of balance of female and male qualities and gifts that both the personality and soul value. The soul is holistic, not dualistic, neither masculine nor feminine. By striking this balance in our workplaces we foster the quality of interdependence on which the new age we are entering is based.
Women in Canada: The Downside
- The average earning of women is only two-thirds of that of men in the same job.
- 70% of elderly women live in poverty and 98% say that they are not financially independent.
Women Business Owners: The Upside
A trend that is having a large impact on the world of work is women’s changing roles and preferences. In North America, women business owners are the fastest growing sector of the business community and now account for one-third of all small business owners compared with only five percent twenty-five years ago. Linda Tarr-Walen of the Center for Policy Alternatives in Washington DC was quoted as saying that women are choosing self-employment at a rate five times faster than men and are far more successful at it. In fact, about 80 percent of businesses started by women survive. Why is that?
It is because women, generally speaking, are more cautious about starting their own businesses then men. They are fairly sure it will succeed before they commit. Also, women are better investors. Women outperform men in the stock market 2.5%. Call it intuition, or perhaps it’s the fact that women tend to buy and hold onto stocks, rather than trading. Regardless, their strategy is successful.
Different Management Styles of Men and Women
Women are leaving traditional organizations because they are seldom friendly to the qualities with which women typically excel. A study by Catalyst Inc. of New York and The Conference Board of Canada called Closing the Gap: Women’s Advancement in Corporate and Professional Canada states that there are two main factors that senior women managers credit for their success. One is doing more than people expected and the other is developing a style with which male managers are comfortable. Women might be unwilling and/or unable to do this and regardless of their talent may not be promoted in traditional organizations. Recent statistics state that although women managers account for 42 percent of all managers, according to the International Labour Organization, fewer than 3 percent of the top managerial jobs in Canada and only 2.4 percent in the US are held by women.
It is unfortunate that women need to replicate male management styles in order to succeed because this neutralizes the gift that women can bring to the workplace. Women have a more collegial management style and seek to promote harmony, consensus and look for the best solution to a problem regardless of whether they, or someone else, thought of it. Women, more often believe in life balance and prefer beautiful work environments with plants and windows that nurture the soul. Traditional male-dominated workplaces more often subscribe to working long hours in a stark environment.
To succeed in traditional male-oriented organizations women often have to suppress their natural talents and soul values. This does not serve them and it does not serve the organization; the organization is not getting the best of that woman. Now, I appreciate that I am making sweeping generalizations about men and women. There are women, whose management style is more masculine, and men, whose style is more feminine, but these are exceptions to the rule.
Canada’s Top 100 Women Business Owners
Only 55% of Ontario companies survive their first five years. What are the top 100 women’s business keys to success?
- 66% of these women owned companies are in Ontario. 8 % in BC. 6% in Alberta
- 73% founded their businesses (alone or with a partner)
- 34% said that they had been discriminated against because they were women
- Flexibility and working around people’s schedules to get the best people was one determinant to keeping staff. Being able to accommodate rising demands on internal system is important to success.
- Many of these women found banks did not treat them by the same standards for borrowing money as they did men. 27% said that the lack of capital was their number one obstacle to becoming successful.
I would like to close with one woman’s story taken over 3 decades.
Lessons from Rebecca MacDonald: a $539 million a year income earner
When MacDonald arrived in Toronto in 1974 from Yugoslavia she was informed that she could not practice medicine. After a series of office jobs she and her husband, Pearson, in 1978 started selling water filters door to door. In 1989 they added natural gas to their products. When Pearson was killed in a car crash in 1992 Rebecca was left with two small children to raise by herself. She sold her original company EMI and founded a new one called Energy Savings Income Fund, which is 2003 reached sales of 538.7 million.
Rebecca MacDonald’s keys to success include:
- Research the area you are interested in to make sure it is a good business opportunity
- Many people will doubt that you can do something new. Ignore them and continue.
- She says, “I always thought large. Sometimes the goals women set are not high enough–and that should change. You have to believe in yourself for others to believe in you.
- Never give up
- Make sure you are in a business you love.
- Make sure your business model works. Experiment with it until it works.
- Make sure you balance your equity to debt ratios.
- Realistic optimism creates success. Entrepreneurs need an achievable dream.
Tanis Helliwell, a mystic in the modern world, has brought spiritual consciousness into the mainstream for over 30 years. Since childhood, she has seen and heard elementals, angels, and master teachers in higher dimensions. Tanis is the founder of the International Institute for Transformation (IIT), which offers programs to assist individuals to become conscious creators to work with the spiritual laws that govern our world.
Tanis is the author of The High Beings of Hawaii, Summer with the Leprechauns, Pilgrimage with the Leprechauns, Embraced by Love, Manifest Your Soul’s Purpose, Hybrids: So You Think You Are Human and Decoding Your Destiny.
For information on Tanis’ courses, click here.