Written by: Marilda Cutrone, 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.
An Ipsos research for eBay investigates the business opportunities that the digital economy offers women. Among the benefits: less prejudice, more freedom in sectors still considered "for men," and greater flexibility.
Can online business help women succeed in areas still traditionally considered for men?
According to research conducted by Ipsos for eBay (on e-commerce), the answer is yes. Indeed, an increasing number of women finally see online business as a tool to more easily overcome gender barriers.
The majority of women (53%) believe that the most significant benefit of having an online business is that it makes it easier to balance family life and work. And, there is a 25% who see online as an opportunity to work efficiently in any sector to have their professionalism recognized.
In the traditional economy, both in business and in employee or managerial positions, many prejudices and inequalities still exist.
In online business, whether a man or a woman runs a business is an aspect not taken into account by the buyer. Nobody considers this aspect at the moment of purchase; what is relevant are the reviews and the payment methods.
But there is still much to be done to boost female entrepreneurship. Men are more than women in the global workforce, and female workers earn less than their male colleagues for the same job. As for women entrepreneurs, the situation is paradoxically worse in Europe and North America than in Asia, where women entrepreneurs outnumber men in some countries.
The pandemic that started in 2020 has unfortunately increased gender inequality. A study by Accenture and Quilt.AI, together with Women20 (W20) [conducted in August 2020 on a sample of 7,000 people and seven countries], found that the spread of Covid-19 has further widened the gap between men and women, leading to an extension of the time needed to achieve gender equality: it will take extra 51 years to fill the gap (from 2120 pre-pandemic to 2171 post-pandemic).
Women's earnings fall 63% faster than men's, with an average decline in women's income of over 16% compared to just over 10% for men.
The analysis also shows that women are 79% more likely to be fired than their male colleagues: a disparity often driven by the fact that women work in sectors vulnerable to closure and have a lower presence than men in higher career paths.
Furthermore, often women have to take on the burden of caring for children or family members by doing unpaid work. In Covid-19, although men's time spent on childcare increased by 34% and women's by 29% compared to a pre-pandemic situation, the burden on women did not decrease, with 50% of the female sample in the study reporting increased tension and stress related to caregiving at home.
What Can Be Done To Promote Female Entrepreneurship?
Women can, for example, focus on training and acquiring digital skills.
Digital skills are essential, particularly for those wishing to enter the communication sector, one of the most affected by the digital revolution.
Web 3.0 has completely transformed the way we communicate and the means of doing so. The breaking down of space and time barriers, the extreme traceability of our actions, our words' impact are just some of the effects of digital technologies on our daily lives. And this new scenario requires redefining the skills needed for communication at all levels.
What are Digital Skills?
It is the ability to use digital tools in every area of our lives.
To achieve this, we must:
1-Be aware of the impact and effects that digital transformation is having;
2- Understand the potential that online tools offer;
3- And finally, get ready to acquire them. Today, this activity is highly simplified thanks to automation and online programmes (e.g., digital marketing programmes).
Specifically, these are the soft digital skills that we need to acquire.
Digital Content: being able to process cross-media digital content. And many studies claim that women are better than men to identify market needs and seize opportunities.
Digital Empathy: knowing how to act, react and interact in online communication contexts. Here again, women are incredibly empathetic and are more likely than men to build emotional relationships even at a distance.
Data Analysis: knowing how to read and analyze digital data, understanding the numbers provided by systems and apps and using them to our advantage.
Today, technology is much easier than in the past, and all you need to do is put some effort and time into finding a good programme and following it.
But first, you have to understand its potential; otherwise, you will not make an effort to find the time to acquire the skills; there will always be a thousand excuses.
It is now essential to have these digital skills, and the lockdown proved it.
Life has moved online: smart working, homeschooling, fitness courses, etc. Yet the Digital Mismatch is still strong. The Digital Mismatch is the gap between people's skills and the skills the world today requires.
This opens up a whole new scenario for women if women can grasp it.
Two Top Tips to Break the Stalemate and Overcome the Gender Pay Gap
We can simplify it this way: acquire soft digital skills through specific programmes and then launch your own online business.
Setting up an online business is much easier and cheaper than in the past. And it certainly gives women work flexibility as well as economic freedom.
Does it work for everyone? Yes, as long as you take it seriously, put in the time and energy, and are determined to succeed.
If you are interested, I invite you to request these free workshops that explain precisely what you can do and how to get started.
Marilda Cutrone, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Marilda walked away from a successful 20-year career as Senior Project Manager. For many years, she felt unfulfilled: she was continuously struggling to juggle career and family. And eventually found herself drained and depressed. Marilda massively changed her life in 2019 when she realized that developing a new set of skills in the current economy is a must. And here is why: over $2.5 trillion per year is being spent on retail purchases online and, over the last few months, there's been a 25% increase in online sales. By leveraging the digital skills, Marilda created her own business - Living My Digital Life - and reached a whole new work-life balance level. This shift would not have been possible for Marilda if she had not discovered the power of affiliate marketing. She is now the owner of her time and can build her career around the family (not a life arranged around the job as it used to be). Her mission is to empower other women to stand up for themselves and make the same shift. Hence Marilda offers a program that walks you through specific steps to learn the skills you need to create a profitable online business from scratch.