Woman in business. Three powerful words. An almighty movement which will change the future of working for the better. Things are changing, but we still have a long way to go.
In 2022, gender discrimination and gender inequality in the workplace are still shockingly high. Even in the UK, with 31% of Brits having said to have seen or experienced gender discrimination. Under 50% of UK workers believe that men and women, who have the same skills and experience, receive the same opportunities to get hired and promoted. 41% of women believe they must work harder than their male colleagues to receive a promotion, even if they have the same skills. Once in a position, only 35% of women feel confident that they will receive a promotion, as opposed to 55% of men.
We’re living and working in an ancient system designed to benefit men – specifically white men. This system doesn’t much reflect women’s needs and priorities, and don’t even get me started on race. The traditional work system is set up to see women fail, with limited maternity leave and pay, expensive childcare and barely any schemes in place for longer paternity leave to balance care giving, it can be challenging for women to progress up the work ladder. Especially since “masculine” qualities like risk-taking, competitiveness, and overtime are over-valued in the workplace, while “feminine” qualities like collaboration, resilience, empathy and compassion are undervalued.
A franchise, however, challenges the traditional workspace idea. Giving more women the opportunity to step into business whilst getting the support and mentoring they need.
I have always had an entrepreneurial mindset, starting pet care services as soon as I could advertise in the newspaper at 10 years old. However, as a woman, I was never really taught that we could go into business. I got a degree in business management, a post-graduate in law, and got myself a corporate job. But the masculine work culture and competing for promotions just didn’t sit right with me. This eventually led me back to my passion and I set up We Love Pets, offering welfare-first pet care services. I am one of the 20% of small business owners that is a woman, and considering We Love Pets has grown to be such a nationally recognised name, I’m extremely proud!
It’s so important to me that I can help other woman take control of their careers and get into business through franchising.
Many of the amazing women that own We Love Pets franchises talk about how our franchise model gives them so many opportunities that their old job roles didn’t offer.
Lucy from our Kidderminster branch previously worked in a customer service-based role for a vehicle leasing company, sorting contracts, arranging cars, answering phone calls. Lucy was basically there from start to finish of the process of leasing cars. However, she lost passion for the job. She found We Love Pets by accident when looking for franchise opportunities for her husband and realised that it was something she would love to do. Lucy chose to go into franchising because it offered her a safety net, business plan, and better prospects for success.
Jo from our Trowbridge branch originally had a career in management for the government care sector, but she wanted to move into a job that would allow her to have more enjoyment of life. She knew she had always wanted to work with animals but wasn’t sure how to make it financially viable. We Love Pets gave her the support, business plan and network she needed to succeed. She’s now become one of our biggest branches, launching a new grooming salon next month! With the franchise, she can be in control. She makes her schedule work around her life and has much more time to spend with her daughter and family.
Tracey from Reading branch worked as a PA, communications specialist and team leader, so she had lots of experience in working with and hiring others to company specifications. With franchising, Tracey is in control, so she can build a like-minded, passionate team of people. She now enjoys a work schedule which can be flexible, so she can spend more time with her husband and young son.
Franchising gives women the opportunity to own a business and fit it around their lives, something that many jobs don’t offer. Here’s a few benefits that our amazing franchisees have discovered through owning a franchise:
- It allows you the flexibility to have a family whilst building a business you love
- You can build a team of people with equality, teamwork and ethics at its core
- As a boss, you can arrange your work time around your life, rather than trying to make life fit in around your work
- The masculine feeling of having to compete with others to be promoted is no longer an issue
- You will see the positive effects of your hard work first hand
- When you own a franchise, you are part of an incredibly supportive, diverse network
Over the last 25 years, the number of women franchisees has steadily grown, 30% of all franchisees being women, while men, now at 70%, have decreased from 78% of franchisees in 2005. I am proud to own a company where 74% of our franchisees are woman, it inspires me every day watching women take control of their working lives by stepping into business.
The franchising community works best with transparency and mentoring, which is great for levelling the playing field between men and women. Since more “feminine” traits such as empathy, flexibility/multi-tasking, and mentoring are vital in franchising.
Women currently have more opportunities than ever to join a franchise with organisations such as the British Franchise Association and Encouraging Women into Franchising, which has established workshops, seminars, mentoring programmes and funding for women interested in franchising. There is also a much wider variety of business opportunities catered for women.
We Love Pets strives for equality – our head office team is an excellent example of this. Opportunities for women and men in the office are the same, with decisions on staffing being made on talent and passion rather than age or gender. I am proud to have an incredible team where everyone’s opinion and ideas are valid, no matter age, gender or length or time in the company.
Here from me and our amazing franchisees in our international women’s day video!