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Since I was little, I have witnessed the challenges that women around me experienced in getting ahead in their professional lives. For me, the picture was very clear: either you were a mother or you were working. And although it sounds extreme, it was very rare to see a woman work and take care of the children. In my generation, most of the moms stayed at home taking care of the children and the dads covered all the family expenses. Female participation has increased over the last decades, going from 20% in 1970 to 40% in 2005 according to the National Employment Survey published in 2005. As I grew, the entire female labor panorama changed radically and with this , it was my turn to experience it personally. During the time that I worked in multinational companies I ran into many barriers that limited my personal and professional development. These challenges ranged from having to comply with working hours that exceeded those agreed by contract, to suffering from “subtle” forms of discrimination when working with only men at the helm.
I am not a mother, and I have never experienced firsthand what it is like to fulfill both activities. However, today there are more than 15.8 million working mothers, which represents 72.9% of the female population working according to the National Occupation and Employment Survey (ENOE). The challenges that I observed in my fellow moms, exceeded mine by far. Seeing that resilience in each one of them gave me strength and inspiration to keep going. Today there is a strong lack of policies for reconciling work and family life. Being a mother is not only taking care of the children, it is also taking care of all the domestic activities. According to INEGI , women dedicate 92 hours a week to housework, that is, 25 hours more than what men normally invest. House shifts represent a fixed full-time job that is not paid or valued. This has caused that women are labeled as “not capable” for having to divide our time to tasks that have been classified “only for women.”
These challenges are intensified when the salary provided is not enough to support their families. Even working full times, the minimum wage in Mexico has diminished and the gender pay gap still has a lot to win. Today, Mexican women receive up to 30% less salary than men for similar jobs, added to the fact that 70% of the salary they receive goes to their communities or families, McKinsey publishes. Every time a peso is invested in the development of women, it is impacted on thousands of children who depend on them and in the communities where they reside. The future of many children in our country depends on the present of the thousands of women in the workforce.
Carrying a full working day and taking care of the house is a complicated job that often cannot be sustained for long periods of time. At present, the policies to support women in companies are very low, and due to this lack of flexibility, and not being able to pay for daycare centers or places of care specialized in children, women are forced to work part-time. Today, according to El País, the figure has increased to 31%. This further diminishes their income and the quality of life they offer their children. However, another new alternative has opened up in the current panorama of women’s professional development: entrepreneurship. The ranks of female entrepreneurship have been filled with women who have opted for this new path, taking their hobbies to the next level by focusing on getting their businesses off the ground, while having the flexibility to attend to other personal matters.
Undertaking is a path of great challenges, and like any other job, it has its pros and cons. Specifically, when it comes to women, adversities are very specific, depending on the situations in which they live. Over the last few years, we have identified three different scenarios for which a woman undertakes. The first is when women combine their full-time or part-time jobs and decide to undertake something that they are passionate about and that eventually, they are willing to leave their jobs to devote all their attention to their endeavors. The second scenario is very similar, however, they have decided to undertake to receive an extra income and have no intention of leaving their jobs for their entrepreneurship . And the third is when they decide to abandon their professional careers in companies to be owners of their own time and dedicate themselves to their ventures. No matter what situation you find yourself in, the only constant is to dedicate time and dedication to get it forward.
When it comes to women, adversities are very specific, depending on the situations in which they live / Image: Depositphotos.com
For women who have decided to undertake while continuing with their working hours – whether part-time or full-time – the key is to stay inspired, prioritize and try not to overstress. We know that you are not ready to leave your job until you begin to have more financial stability with your venture. Tell yourself why you are doing it every day and envision a promising future. Remember that the entrepreneurial life is going to be like a roller coaster, and it will have good moments and not so good moments, but eventually that stability that you are looking for will arrive. It is a matter of being constant, perserving and committing yourself to carry out that small business that will flourish with all the effort that you are putting into it. Be grateful for the job you have today and do your best to keep it long enough.
For women who have decided to abandon their working hours and dedicate themselves to their ventures, the key is to get into a routine, give the importance it deserves to your venture, determine working hours, help you with the technological tools that can make your life as an entrepreneur much easier, continually train yourself, build a community of trusted partners and vendors, and take that leap into the digital world — which we know can be difficult to do. However, today there are many ways to go digital without having to invest a lot of time, money and effort.
Regardless of the situation you find yourself in, there is always a solution to get ahead. Today, according to INEGI , we are almost four million entrepreneurs who are at different levels of entrepreneurship and many of us have gone through situations that you are going through or are going to go through throughout your life as an entrepreneur. Today, there are many female entrepreneurship communities where tips and testimonials are shared that can help you learn from other people’s experiences and excel with your entrepreneurship. Let us remember that unity is strength and that together, we do better.