I am proud to be kicking off this series of blogs, Women-Owned Wednesdays during Women’s History Month. On the first Wednesday of every month, I will choose a topic that relates to being a woman in business. In this first blog, I reflect on how I got started and the work still left to achieve. Together we can break the gender bias.
My story, my motivation
GACO Sourcing began because I recognized there was an opportunity. The real estate market had just crashed, and the economy was affected. I knew I was good at sales partnering with clients to make their branding ideas a reality. Starting a business that allowed me to do what I loved and support my family was exciting, but risky. Ultimately, it was a risk I was willing to take.
Like so many business owners, I did not know the first thing about running a business. It was one of the hardest things I’ve done. I’d always been competent at solving any challenge. However, this was the first time I had to learn how to rely on the support of friends and family – I became skilled at asking for help. My family and friends gave me the support and motivation I needed. With each challenge that arose, I forced myself to ask questions, pay attention, and believe in myself. I became more resolute in my purpose gaining respect from people in the industry as well as my clients.
The best reward, however, came many years later. It was the respect of my daughters. Early on, it was so easy to second guess myself. Wondering, am I balancing my time well, am I being a truly present mother? The truth is it never got any easier it just became more rewarding. I am fortunate to have a supportive family who encouraged me to commit to the challenge of being a business owner with everything I had and to never look back.
It’s funny to think that our women’s liberation movement (WLM) was not all that long ago. Women have come far in such a short time. Below are a few things that women couldn’t do in the early 70s and, it’s truly mind-boggling! See the full article here.
- Get a credit card in her name.
- Get an Ivy League education.
- Take legal action against workplace sexual harassment.
To us, these seem like the most basic of rights, and those are just a few of the ways progress was achieved during the WLM.
There’s still much to do
The basic trials and tribulations of day-to-day life are hard. Getting a kid out the door to school can be a herculean effort. Couple normal stressors with a global pandemic and a potential World War III looming, it’s easy to get dissuaded. But we cannot stop. Gender biases have seeped within the fabric of our culture.
For example, I recently heard a podcast featuring Sheryl Sandburg. She talks about the ever-pervasive, systemic and cultural imbalances between men and women. It has been coined the double, double shift. The average woman in a heterosexual relationship is working an average of 21 hours a week on domestic ‘responsibilities’, that’s a part-time job. In this great resignation we’re experiencing, 54% of women are leaving their careers because they couldn’t do it all, and understandably so. Add in the pay gap and of course, women are leaving the workforce. They make less money, so why hang onto their career when their male counterpart makes more money?
Keeping your foot on the gas pedal
This gender imbalance starts early. Upon entering the workforce women begin to hold back on children they don’t have yet, choosing careers based on the idea of a family. Meanwhile, a man keeps his foot on the gas pedal. Fast forward 5 years that man is making more money and has a more senior role. That seniority affords him flexibility in his schedule and even more so, to have meetings set based on his availability.
We have come so far, however, there is still so much to be accomplished. I plan to keep my foot on the gas pedal and inspire other women to do the same. In a world with more powerful women and advocates of women, we can achieve anything.