The 3 Advantages of Businesswomen

It’s easily arguable that women are still not equal to men in many regards. Despite the barriers that women have overcome since the suffrage movement, a multitude of factors — such as that women currently earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men — impede the path to complete equality and acceptance in the business world. Initiatives to reverse these  elements have wrinkled the fabric of today’s culture and are redefining the roles of women within and beyond the workforce, but many leaders and groups believe that there is still great room for progress.

I believe that progress can be made on all fronts for both men and women in business, but I also know that women do have some distinct advantages that have emerged to a greater degree these past few years.

1. We think with our heads, our hearts and our senses.

2. We are more collaborative and slightly less competitive by nature.

3. We now have access to all places of power in the board room and in the “smoke-filled rooms.”

Thank goodness that there are less smoky rooms and more home-based businesses and shared work spaces like, which provides co-working space for women. More and more powerful business decisions are being made over kitchen tables, too.  Many of us are, indeed, Leaning In!

As we work to balance out the scales, recognizing the advantages that businesswomen have over men is just as — if not more — important in order for women to make strides when growing and managing businesses. Rather than focus solely on what women lack or are deprived of in the moment, it’s imperative to identify and maximize the inherent strengths that women possess. Leveraging one’s strengths and skills is a crucial skill to excelling in any business venture; the first step to success is knowing what those strengths and skills are.

I was asked recently while presenting to the National Association of Women Business Owners what some of the secrets to our advantages might be. I will share a couple of tips here for you and, I might add, this advice work for both men and women.

1. Use your emotional instincts to your advantage. According to Margaret A. Neale, Professor of Management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, w omen are, by nature, more emotionally “in tune” than men are in social contexts. Drawing upon the ability to relate emotionally and strategically feeling out the situation can prove beneficial in negotiating agreements that give you the upper hand. Pay attention and focus not only on the goals you wish to accomplish, but the people in the room and the larger benefit of what you are doing for others. Passion with purpose is extremely powerful. Use that power to make a bigger difference in your own business and in the lives of the people you touch.

2.  Women who know how to use authoritative and approachable forms of body language interchangeably can have the best of both worlds.  Approachability is a trait often used to stereotype women in the business world, where some women fear that they’ll come off as too domineering, Deborah Gruenfeld, a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, says. In lieu of powerful body language that effectively conveys intention and direction; some women subconsciously resort to less assertive, but more approachable body language (crossed legs, leaning back, less expansive gestures and poses, etc). This makes them more relatable and their partner may feel more comfortable talking to them, but less powerful body language also potentially reduces the impact of one’s words.

Adopting a powerful body position conveys one’s status and is typically associated with men in the business world; however, women should not shy away from adopting those types of stances as well. Knowing when to use more assertive body language and balancing it with a more intrinsic, approachable type of body language provides women with a double-edged sword to wield, when appropriate.

Once today’s businesswomen incorporate their advantages into their professional interactions and work, they will take greater steps in the direction towards complete equality and poise themselves to shatter the glass ceiling.

By Patty DeDominic
Photo by Pressmaster | Shutterstock

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