A new survey by social enterprise Code First Girls has found that 40% of female entrepreneurs have faced gender-based discrimination whilst in a leadership role.

61% also agreed that, in terms of the challenges faced by women when breaking into senior roles, stereotypes still exist – with leadership continuing to favour men. 

Additionally, when asked about barriers to business leadership, more than half (51%) of Code First Girls’ community also stated that confidence is the main challenge facing female entrepreneurs today. 

These results follow the latest research from Enterprise Nation, which found that initial turnover expectations for female founders of full-time businesses were £10,000 lower than those founded by men, with male founders expected to make £35,106 in the first year, compared to £25,213 for women. 

And, with the government’s annual Small Business Survey showing that just 18% of small and medium-sized enterprises with employees are led by women, it is clear that the industry needs to address the leadership gender gap by encouraging and supporting women into such roles. 

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“When it comes to entrepreneurship, women face a number of unique gender-based challenges,” said Anna Brailsford (pictured), CEO of Code First Girls. 

“Differences in pay result in smaller financial safety nets for new businesses, a lack of confidence in skills and ability halts growth, and a lack of role models prevents women from believing that they can be a successful business leader. 

“In a time of economic uncertainty, it matters now, more than ever, that we encourage and support women into business leadership roles. 

“By improving access to funding, women mentorship programmes, and training, we can help women to build and grow their businesses at the same rate as their male counterparts.”

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