Why women in business are NOT imposters, they are integral

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It’s not easy being a woman in business. As cheery a start to an article as that is, it holds weight and resonates with many women looking to take their business to the next level. But why is it that many women struggle to compete in the world of business? Why is it that they are more likely to feel inadequate and reluctant to scale up than their male equivalent?

In this case, there is actually a term to explain this behaviour: many will have heard the term ‘imposter syndrome’ but what does it mean? First identified in 1978 by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes, imposter syndrome is a diagnosable condition that leaves one feeling inadequate, useless in comparison to others and heaps of that all-consuming, dumpster fire feeling: self-doubt. Oh, and to make things worse? According to Startups magazine, it is estimated that 90 percent of women in the UK experience imposter syndrome at work and, according to the 2019 Rose Review for HM Treasury, only 39% of women feel confident they have the skills to start a business compared to 55% of men.

As staggering as those statistics are, this isn’t an article of pure doom, gloom and depressing statistics (promise). Whilst there are clear forces at work causing professional women to feel insufficient, our ambition at Creative England is to unpack those feelings and give female entrepreneurs the leg up and confidence to succeed in the world of business. That’s why we’ve devised Female Founders, a dedicated and prestigious programme for ambitious female founders of screen-based companies. The programme will equip female entrepreneurs with the skills and confidence to scale their business and form a cohort of female business leaders across the regions.

Now onto some more positive statistics (I did promise). Women are fantastic entrepreneurs and, according to the 2019 Rose Review for HM Treasury, up to £250 billion of new value could be added to the UK economy if women started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as men in the UK. Women in business are not only ambitious, a lot of established female entrepreneurs are demonstratably better than their male counterpart; Research by Deloittes, PWC and the Harvard Business Review all show that companies with women on the board and in high level positions are run better, more profitable, take less risks and are generally focused on the long-term rather than taking short-term positions. In countries ranked in the bottom 50% for gender equality, the IMF posits that bringing more women into the working world could increase the size of their economies by 35% on average.

So, there you have it – proof that female entrepreneurs do succeed. They can take their business ideas to the next level and make a significant impact on the UK’s economy as they do so.

Speaking of fantastic women, we’ve already supported a bunch of them through our Industry Equals programme, and helped them confront their own imposter syndrome and instead feel confident in their business ambitions:

“My Impostor Syndrome did rear its head from time to time, but at one point I do remember thinking that if all these other women were amazingly talented then perhaps I had been picked for the same reason… It (Industry Equals) has helped me build confidence in myself and the potential of my company”

– Constance Fleuriot, Pretty Digital

“Hearing the stories of success from the female speakers / entrepreneurs and their journeys reconfirmed my drive and determination to push forward to succeed”

– Philippa Armsby-Ward

“I believe that in the future, I will attribute the time I spent at the Creative England Industry Equals residential weekend to have been a transformative and defining moment in my career. I walked away from the workshops with confidence, a deeper understanding of the creative economy and my place in it and with an all-important plan of action, and a mentor I’m thrilled with to help me implement it. I’m excited about the future thanks to this opportunity.”

– Hayley Pepler

We’re honoured to have already worked with some fantastic, talented women and we are looking forward to continuing to do so.

Applications for our Female Founders programme close this week – if you’re a female entrepreneur working in the screen industries looking to scale your business, don’t let imposter syndrome prevent you from submitting an application. We’ve already had some fantastic applications submitted and we can’t wait to receive more.