Home Articles Is entrepreneurship the equaliser for women in the workplace? Hells yeah!

Is entrepreneurship the equaliser for women in the workplace? Hells yeah!


Australian women are starting small businesses at twice the rate of men and last year it was reported that Australia is the second best place in the world to be a female entrepreneur.

The facts are in and corporates are haemorrhaging smart, educated and savvy women …and fast.

“Women are increasingly disenfranchised with the corporate world,” says Kate McCormack, a marketing and business strategy expert for female entrepreneurs and micro business owners.

This comes as no big surprise based on 2013 findings which revealed that Australian women were paid 17.4 per cent less than men in the same field.

Why are women leaving the corporate world?

Today Kate, who herself has an impressive back catalogue of high level marketing roles for brands such as Jetstar, Just Jeans, Target Australia and Tabcorp says as the barriers to entry on going into business keep going down, it’s not just mothers who are opting out.

“I’m increasingly getting young Gen Y women coming to me who have just had enough.”

“They are frustrated with being paid less and not having enough flexibility to pursue other life goals,” she revealed. “They work hard but they are not feeling rewarded – they know there are opportunities and alternative options out there.”

An example of women making the great escape

Kate is all too familiar with opting out of corporate to opt-in to life.

Having three children in just over two years, including twins, was a big game changer for her. She says her well-paid high flying corporate job just wasn’t flexible enough – she could do the hours, just not within the defined 9-5 time slot.

Kate, whose 18 years of experience in corporate and brand marketing at senior level and her MBA give her a unique and privileged perspective into how the ‘big guns’ do marketing, managed to match her corporate salary within five months of focusing solely on her business and working only 20 hours a week.

“This is the age of choice for women and a new era of women’s liberation,” she says. “This generation are gutsy and taking control. Corporations will have to drag themselves into the twenty first century if they want to retain talent.”

What exactly is pushing women to leave the corporate world for entrepreneurship?

Kate, whose new group coaching program, Amplify You Intensive designed specifically for female entrepreneurs starts on March 30, 2015, spoke to Anthill about what challenges in the corporate workplace, specific to women, are pushing them to leave and start their own businesses. Below is what she had to share.

There are so many facets to this it’s difficult to capture them all.

There is a glass ceiling and there is something about the corporate world that doesn’t work for women.

Workplace flexibility is a loosely thrown around term and it is not widespread practice.

This could be so many things it’s difficult to list them all right here – inflexible work arrangements, lack of appropriate child care, the expectation of the role men must play in the family unit, the ever present boys club, and just the lack of understanding of the demands of being a mother.

Unfortunately, the fantastic qualities we as women bring to the workforce are not always embraced where still in this day and age the more masculine is applauded and rewarded.

That’s a can of worms right there!

One of the biggest contributors to this phenomenon is, of course, choosing to have a family. Women are blessed to be the one who has a baby and nurtures this newborn baby when they are born.

As far as I’m concerned this makes us the lucky ones.

The thing is though, this means time away from the workplace and it is people’s attitudes towards this that is so surprising.

I honestly think there is not less but more vision, focus and drive after you have a baby – why isn’t this treated as a positive instead of a negative.

Women are expected to go back to roles that either show no progression or sometimes even taking roles that are below their level of expertise – just so they can have the flexibility they need to juggle their family.

This isn’t sustainable, it means talent is being wasted and women can be left experiencing real issues of self doubt. You can’t help but wonder – there must be a better way? I deserve more than this.

The flip side of all of is far more positive and that is simply that women are drawn away from the workplace to start their own business because they can!

Technology, opportunity, support, encouragement are all so much more readily available that, with the right focus and determination, it is easier in many ways to start a business now than it was even 10 years ago.