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“Take your seat at the top table”

“Take your seat at the top table”

Franchising gives women the chance to not just challenge gender inequality, but themselves as well, says Helen Mansfield, managing director of Encouraging Women into Franchising

If you’d been around in the early 1900s, would you have joined the Suffragettes? For each generation to succeed, we usually end up standing on the shoulders of generations before us. And while we’re still a long way from workplace equality, women have made significant progress.

For those of you with young daughters, nieces or female friends, you’re probably acutely aware of the gap between the genders. And you don’t have to be female to see the obstacles women face, along with the additional challenges brought about by the pandemic.

The lockdown challenge

Unfortunately, more women than men found themselves affected by the coronavirus crisis. Mandu Reid, leader of the Women’s Equality Party, found that of the 11 million essential frontline workers in the UK, women account for:
• 77 per cent of healthcare workers.
• 83 per cent of social care staff.
• 92 per cent of child care employees.
• 58 per cent of retail workers (the top five employers being supermarkets).
• 98 per cent of staff in high risk positions (ie, most exposed to the virus) and paid poverty wages.

When it comes to parental responsibility, according to The Telegraph on January 7:
• Mothers were 47 per cent more likely than fathers to have lost or quit their job during lockdown.
• Home-schooling impacted mothers, who spend two hours more per day than fathers managing their children.

In addition, LinkedIn data revealed women were less likely to be hired during peak lockdown, with hiring of women reaching its lowest point in April, at 41.5 per cent.

The internal challenge

However, the gender imbalance doesn’t just hold women back from reaching the top.

Many women, like Encouraging Women into Franchising ambassador and diddi dance founder and franchisor, Anne-Marie Martin, also have internal struggles to deal with.

“Finding a business where your passion lies can help build the confidence of women”

She says: “Finding a business where your passion lies can help build the confidence of women. For myself, dance actually helps reduce my anxiety and stress. So being able to offer it as a business opportunity feels amazing and is so rewarding.”

A collaborative hope

According to the 2018 Franchise Landscape report by the British Franchise Association and NatWest, 37 per cent of new franchisees at the time were women.

While these figures are obviously pre-COVID-19, within EWiF we’ve seen more women looking into the prospect of franchising.

This shows organisations like EWiF and the bfa, which are pushing for women to get better opportunities, are invaluable. Being able to run your own business and be your own boss, even with other demands put upon us, is both real and attainable.

International Women’s Day, which focuses on celebrating women, and our annual awards are a powerful reminder of how franchising doesn’t just support women into busines ownership but constantly shouts about their achievements along the way.

So why not discover within which franchise opportunity your future lies and take your seat at the table of success.

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