“I think you should focus on your role as a wife and mother.”

Those were the words Beatrice received from a bank manager while bidding for a loan to start up a business. She had walked home unhappy under the scorching sun, again – she had been turned down by the bank who refused to give her a loan to start up her business.

Each time Beatrice visits the bank, it turned out to be a bad day for her, they give her one hundred and one reasons why they think her business will never succeed. On this particular day she asked to see the bank manager who had conversed with her, and bluntly told her “we usually do not invest in women-owned businesses because we don’t think that they could sustain the pressure of growing a business, I think you should focus on your role as a wife and mother”.

She was stunned at his response and repeatedly asked herself how those self-made female business tycoons made it to the top?

“Did they actually pass through this process?” “Or is it just me?” Beatrice wondered.

Poor Beatrice; many female entrepreneurs around the world have shared similar experiences. They claim that they had no shortage of innovation or business ideas but the major barrier is undercapitalization and gender bias. Testimonies of many female entrepreneurs, about how they started their businesses, and the difficulties they faced, have reflected a similar pattern, they lack access to funding and support from the government, banks, and the incubator communities.

Women have claimed that being a woman entrepreneur comes with different hurdles than those of their male counterparts.

Shelley True of TrueDotDesign also gave her account of how she was turned down several times by money lenders and banks.  “I had to go to a number of lenders and banks and was turned down several times, for no real reason.” Even when she exceeded the revenue numbers the banks demanded approval, “they still turned me down” – she said.

Gender barrier is a normal challenge faced by women entrepreneurs while trying to start or grow their businesses, which has also resulted in the loss of confidence among many women in the business world. Each time this happens many women tend to give up on their business ideas, projects and dreams, just because they couldn’t find capital.

The journey to the top for many women in business are filled with potholes and when once that can be avoided, the woman entrepreneur would be able to achieve success.

Meanwhile, a particular school of thought is raising the notion against the amount of effort exerted on the push for gender equality, saying that the movement has gone too far. Hearing this for the first time, you might want to pause and take a closer look at the meaning of that assertion, but how convincing can that be? When there are still women all over the world complaining about the struggles they go through in the business world based on their gender.

People often argue that most Western societies have achieved gender equality and women have all the same legal rights as men, but on the other hand, feminists continue to argue that the battle for gender equality is not yet won.

The curiosity about this matter is why have the banks, investors and governments failed to believe in the women. Different people are of different opinions as to why these things happen, but one of the common opinions is Gender Discrimination.

Even while the government claimed to have created various programs that are aimed at helping women entrepreneurs, many women still find the government programs to be inherently biased.

Speaking about the Government bias programmes, Jennifer Schoenhofer, the CEO and president of Axis Teknologies, a wireless infrastructure engineering firm in Marietta, Ga said “the federal government’s program to award 5 percent of contracts to women-owned businesses annually is meagre compared with the roughly 15 percent that minority business owners can get, – That in itself is inequality to me,” she stressed.

Despite the programs, training, grants, and support that female entrepreneurs have at their disposals, this debate still heats like a thunderbolt whenever it is raised. This issue appeals to every woman in the business world irrespective of the country or region they are from.

It is a general problem, considering the various annual listings of world billionaires, there is a clear observation about that these listings are male dominated.

Should the women give up and let things happen the way they will?

If anyone is of that opinion, it is as good as a bad idea because women play a huge role in the current world’s economy, it is therefore unhealthy to understate the importance of female entrepreneurs in any economy of the world.

Women are highly ambitious and often start their career at a young age. They cover many spheres of life from the media to fashion, sales, banking and many more. Presently there is no sector that is void of a woman.

However, there are still women whose journey has been a tough one and have not been able to achieve their aim without headaches and bumps in the road. Within them is a groaning pain to grow their businesses and succeed in life.

The gap between men and women rights to many of life advantages is still wide including the business sphere. Women entrepreneur are still faced with trials and tribulations of fundraising and gender bias, which means that there should be more room for the continuity of the gender equality pursuit.

Miracle Nwankwo

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