The lives of women entrepreneurs are a series of paradoxes, as one new Bank of America survey found. The bank surveyed 1,000 small business owners across the country about the state of their careers, and the woman business leaders’ answers were hopeful that several major workplace problems were either solved or on their way: full equality in pay between men and women is only two decades away, they believed, and work-life balance is already achieved.
Yet, as a person who doesn’t believe that you can work over 40 hours a week and have a work-life balance, their very cheery beliefs about work made me exhausted just reading through them.
Women underemphasize their stress
Here’s an interesting contradiction, for instance: although 61% of women entrepreneurs report working more than 40 hours each week, 78% believe they have achieved a work-life balance.
In their responses, women were quick to primarily emphasize the good about their jobs. The majority of women said that being an entrepreneur was “interesting,” “fulfilling,” and “enjoyable.”
But once that was out of the way, a significant number of them admitted that they were stressed and exhausted. Nearly half of them said that their average week was “demanding” and one in three said that their workdays were “stressful.”
And no wonder they’re stressed out! They’re underpaid. A 2017 report found that women entrepreneurs earn less than their male counterparts and raise less financial capital than them. And they’re outnumbered. Women only own 34% of all companies in the United States. Research found that men are what gets presented as the business owner ideal. Not being seen as entrepreneur material gets women excluded from the networks, contacts, and access needed to become great business leaders. In fact, to get around this, two female entrepreneurs recently fabricated a male co-founder just to get meetings with investors.
And yet, despite the challenges they face, the majority of women entrepreneurs still said that there would be more women-owned small businesses and 61% said that they would achieve pay equity with men within the next 20 years. Additionally, 68% believe women will match or exceed men in becoming CEOs, CFOs and COOs, and 80% believe there will be just as many – or more – women than men in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
So mark your calenders: in 2037, all of women’s problems at work will be solved.