More women consider starting own business to avoid glass ceiling, office harassment

NEW YORK — Most workers dream of being their own boss one day, but for many women, owning a business also means freedom from a sometimes unpleasant workplace. To that point, a recent international survey of 9,000 women finds over 70 percent want to open their own business.

The second annual Global Entrepreneurship survey spoke to women in 15 countries, including 2,000 in the United States. The poll, commissioned by Herbalife Nutrition, finds the economic uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic has more American women looking to become entrepreneurs. Researchers say 57 percent of U.S. respondents want to start a business, compared to 46 percent last year.

Escaping workplace inequalities

The most common reasons for starting a business are becoming their own boss (61%) and inspiring young girls (80%). Yet more than 60 percent of women say unfair treatment at work plays a role in the decision.

A third of the survey claim they have fewer opportunities for promotion compared to their male co-workers. Other top drawbacks include a lack of equal pay and respondents believing they aren’t taken seriously by their bosses. Thirty percent of the poll add they face harassment or sexist attitudes at their jobs.

When it comes to juggling a career and family, some women say they also face discrimination while pregnant. Nearly half of the poll claim they have put off having children because they believe it will hurt their careers.

Meanwhile, 72 percent of women think they must work harder than men to receive the same opportunities from their employers.

Rewarding, but difficult road for women

Two-thirds of the survey say they’re committed to breaking the “glass ceiling” in the corporate world. Over half of the women believe starting their own business will help grow their income.

Other advantages respondents give include a more flexible work/personal life (45%), better job satisfaction (40%), and a chance to earn what that person thinks they’re worth (37%).

Although becoming an entrepreneur may be appealing, going it alone can be challenging. A third of respondents are “very worried” the business they have or plan to open will fail within five years. Half of the respondents say the biggest challenges revolve around money and financing their projects.

“Being an entrepreneur is not always an easy path, but with the right opportunity, hard work and a supportive community, it can be very rewarding,” explains Jenny Hienrich of Herbalife Nutrition in a statement.

The survey was conducted for Herbalife by OnePoll.

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