It seems like we cannot spend a day without becoming aware of yet another massively successful startup. They are everywhere! The best part is that we see more women rising as leaders with great startups.
Although women make the majority of the U.S. population and its workforce, they are only 6% of CEOs, hold only 20% in leadership boards, and only 25% of senior-level and executive management positions. There’s a serious gap going on, but startups give us bright expectations for the future.
Regardless of gender, we all have important lessons to learn from these powerful women. Catherine Maxwell, an investor at Aussie Writing service, explains: “Yes; there are fewer women in leadership roles. But what does that mean? Does it mean a woman cannot start her own business? Does it mean she cannot move up in an organization? Absolutely not! Yes; maybe she is a victim of stereotypes. But you know what? That only makes strong women stronger. We can make it, and there are beautiful examples proving that.”
Shall we look at some of those examples? What lessons can we learn from them?
1. Scentbird – Women Know What Women Need
Women adore beauty brands. There’s no doubt about it. But did you know it was men who held the greatest percentage of leadership positions in massive beauty brands? Sephora, for example, has Christopher de Lapuente as the global president and CEO, and Calvin McDonald as the president and CEO of Sephora Americas. Of course, they rely on women when they research the market. There’s no doubt about it. But women rarely hold leadership positions in giant corporations. Startups change that. They start small, but when a woman knows what women need, she can definitely take the small business to stardom.
Mariya Nurislamova, CEO, and co-founder of successful startups Scentbird and Deck of Scarlet is a nice example to consider. Scentbird, in particular, was a pretty unique idea. Just when you thought there was nothing new to look forward to in the world of beauty businesses, Mariya came up with her subscription concept that’s like Netflix for perfumes. She understood a woman’s need for diversity and decided to offer that.
How does Scentbird work? You subscribe with a monthly fee and you get a package of original fragrances to try each month. If you like the test, you can order the full-sized fragrance. It’s a unique concept and it really works!
2. Lumi – Women Leaders Don’t Necessarily Belong in Female-Focused Industries
When you think of women leaders, you think of beauty and wellness brands. Yes; women make great leaders in such industries, and the first example on our list was no coincidence. But you know what? They can succeed in any other industry as well.
Lumi is a startup that has one goal: to simplify packaging and make it more effective. In February 2018, the brand got a lot of attention with its fundraising campaign. The $9 million fundraise goal was completed, so Lumi could leverage its digital network of factories.
Jesse Genet, co-founder, and CEO of Lumi, is pretty vocal about the fact that women don’t have it easy in leadership. This is what she wrote in an opinion piece on the Lumi blog: “Female CEOs are making extraordinary progress with female-specific products in industries that were all but totally neglected, but just like with make founders, we have the capacity to focus on passions beyond our anatomy.”
3. Werk – Work-Life Balance Is the Key to Success
Let’s discuss the main reason why women are often prevented from competing for leadership positions: motherhood. If a woman decides to become a mother, tradition calls for greater commitment when compared to the one the father is bound to. That’s why millions of women around the world settle for positions that don’t let them shine with their full professional potential.
Anna Auerbach and Annie Dean, co-founders and co-CEOs of Werk, changed that. They created a universal flexibility system that helps people find that work-life balance, and they turned that idea into a successful startup.
Women understand the need for flexibility at work. Men need it just as much, so they can stop relying on the woman who has things under control back home. Ambitious people can still have functional families and successful careers; we just need to change the system. Fortunately, Werk is making serious steps in that direction.
Can we move away from the belief that it’s hard for a woman to make it in a man’s world? This is not a man’s world. We are equal, so we should start acting that way. It’s time for us to stop trying to be like our male competitors and just be ourselves. That’s good enough for success!