Gender barrier in business closes

Fewer female entrepreneurs say they are affected by gender barriers, according to a poll from Business Link in London.

Some 20 per cent of women business owners still feel they have to work harder than their male counterparts to prove themselves in the business world, compared to 38 per cent last year. The majority (53 per cent) see great customer service as the key indicator that their business is succeeding.

Diana Robertson, marketing and communications director at Business Link in London, says: ‘This poll shows a significant shift from last year. Women business leaders in the SME sector are making noticeable inroads into gender barriers, and using customer service to spearhead the change.’

Of the 1,000 female entrepreneurs surveyed, 47 per cent feel that their ability to adapt was a key factor in helping them come through the recession in good shape.

Gender pay gap is ‘women’s choice’

The public should make less of a song and dance about the gender pay gap, as most of it is due to choices made by each side, a new report states.

Should We Mind the Gap from Professor J R Shackleton states the difference in pay for men and women is not anything the government can affect, as it is largely due to choices made by women on working conditions and values.

The report, released by the Institute of Economic Affairs, says rather than employers discriminating, the gap is due to women choosing lesser paid jobs or part-time work to enable them to have a family.

According to the publication, British people should make ‘far less of a song and dance about the gender pay gap’, stating equal pay and anti-discrimination laws may be counter-productive.

Shackleton says: ‘The pay gap is falling but is also a reflection of individuals’ lifestyle preferences. Government can’t regulate or legislate these away – and shouldn’t try to.’

One example in the report of lifestyle choices affecting pay is that men tend to work longer hours and do more overtime than their female counterparts, as twice as many males than women will work a 48-hour week.

Research from last month found the lack of pay equality in the workplace led to 11 per cent of respondents starting their own firm.

Kamel Hothi, Asian markets director at Lloyds TSB, told the website career breaks still affect women’s pay as they miss out on opportunities.

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