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How The Spice Girls Inspired A New Generation Of Women To become Business Owners

Written by: Natalia Nicholson, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Twenty-five years ago, I heard the song Wannabe on the radio. It was released by an upcoming girl group called The Spice Girls. I remember thinking great song, the pants name! The Spice Girls sounded like a group of chefs, not a pop band! Wannabe was a great song and quickly propelled this group of five young women into the spotlight and set them up for their future, can I say it, stardom. Mel B, Emma, Geri, and Victoria, otherwise known as Scary, Baby, Ginger, Posh, and Sporty. Together they made ‘girl power’ a focus for the next generation of girls who were inspired by their out-spoken attitudes. These were girls that have since become business owners and leaders of huge companies.

I was a huge fan of the Spice Girls right from the very first moment I saw them dancing around on their music video for Wannabe. They looked like they were really having fun and didn’t take themselves too seriously. I was also very happy to have a trendy girl group that included young black women that I could look up to. I really related to Mel B, better known as Scary Spice! She was never afraid to be seen and speak up. She said what she thought without apologies, and I am grateful that I grew up when the Spice Girls were starting their rise to fame. Recently Rolling Stone even voted ‘Girl Power’ as the second most important movement for the Millennial generation.


Although undoubtedly the world has changed a great deal, the rise of ‘Girl Power’ has not significantly increased the percentage of female CEO’s in the UK or in the USA. Back in 1995, a Hansard Society Commission report (McRae, 1995) reported only 6% of 120 firms in The Times “Top 200” companies in the UK had female executive main board directors. Sadly the FTSE 100 recorded only 6% of females are CEO’s in 2021 in the UK. In the USA, the S&P 500 reports the same figure, just 6% of CEO’s are women. Even more astounding than the first female CEO of an FTSE 100 company in the UK was, Marjorie Scardino who was appointed CEO of Pearson. in 1997.


Currently, the six companies in the FTSE100 in the UK with a female CEO are Whitbread (although they have a man on their adverts), ITV, Seven Trent plc, NatWest Group, Imperial Brands, and GlaxoSmithKline. The abysmal percentage of female CEOs in the FTSE100 is not acceptable and I strongly believe is a great disadvantage to the UK economy as a whole. It has been indicated that if the same proportion of women as men started and grew their own business, then as much as £250 billion of new value could be added to the UK economy. One thing I know for sure is that women lack neither the ability, determination, ambition, or work ethics that are needed to start and expand a business. Neither is a lack of funding an issue. In fact, the UK attracts a higher level of venture capital than any other European country. The issue is that only 1% of all venture funding goes to female business owners. This has to change and it is up to us women to make sure it does. No one can do it for us, and we must join together to form supportive networks and mentor each other. Fight to be noticed and receive funding and prove that women are just as, if not more capable than men, at starting and running profitable companies. My belief is that as the percentage of women who are able to access funding increases, more companies will see the value of having women CEO’s. In turn, as the number of female CEOs rises, the opportunities for women in higher-level positions will consequently increase.


Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world of business had changed dramatically. With remote working now becoming a staple part of roles at numerous companies and flexible working no longer the exception, now is the time to seize this chance and run with it. Women have fought for their rights since the suffragette days and won! I am determined that we can achieve so much more in the world of business if, like the Spice Girls, we are not afraid to be outspoken and embrace our inner ‘Girl Power

.’

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Natalia Nicholson, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Natalia Nicholson is a Serial Entrepreneur, Business and Digital Marketing Coach, and Professional Public Speaker. Natalia has over 20 years of experience working as a digital serial entrepreneur and has had plenty of her own failures as well as success stories. This has perfectly placed her to be able to offer insight and advice to other women aspiring to become digital entrepreneurs, together with those who have already launched their own businesses. Through her mastermind group, Women in Digital Business, Natalia teaches them the best way to leverage the potential of digital marketing and helps them to learn the best ways of overcoming the challenges that they are facing when it comes to becoming successful online businesswomen. Her passion for online business coaching and digital marketing has inspired her to bring inspiration to women from largely overlooked underrepresented groups.

 

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