As a female-led company, we are often involved in discussions around empowering women in the workplace. Increasingly, companies are revising and implementing policies to strengthen female leadership and direct the conversation, which is something PA Business Support actively support and promote.
However, for us, the key contributor to empowering women in business is enabling them to have more control over their lives outside the office. Most of our VAs have arrived at the role from jobs in office-based careers, and it was no mean feat – in fact, it was a brave leap – for them to make the change.
Drained both physically and mentally by the negative side of office culture, whether gender inequality or the many other challenges that an office environment often poses, many women choose freelance as a way to take back control. Lots of our VAs have already reached career milestones and led ambitious workplace careers before, and many of them say (paradoxically perhaps) that, as freelancers, they’ve never felt more empowered as “a woman in the workforce”. In part this is about the flexibility to maintain a healthy work/life balance, to work when you want to, for who you want to, and to build relationships formed through trust and value rather than obligation and (often male) hierarchy. The ability to run a business where you call the shots is twinned with a desire to focus on things which makes a person perform at their full potential: like drive, passion and mental wellbeing. And let’s definitely mention the opportunity to spend more time with your family!
Last year’s report by PwC revealed that 44% of women worried about the impact of having a family on their careers. Balancing family life and work is a consistent challenge and the report highlighted grave concerns both about flexibility and ‘motherhood penalties’ (which refers to the pay gap between working mothers and similar women without dependents). That is one of the reasons why we fully endorse being a virtual assistant as a career, as it not only alleviates this but allows women with children to feel more in control and ultimately more empowered.
For many women, including our two MDs Sophie and Sabina, we find new meaning in our work once we make the step away from working for others. This new meaning, as proven time and again, more often than not translates to commercial success; Forbes frequently highlights the role of women in business leadership, especially start-ups, and more and more VCs are making it a point to recruit start-ups founded or co-founded by women. They’ve even published stats that businesses founded by women deliver higher revenue, are more capital efficient, and produce a higher return on equity.
Organisations need to break away from historical thinking and embrace a holistic approach to empowering women in the workplace and this means addressing three essential areas: transparency and trust, strategic support, and life and family care options. This is something we offer all our VAs by the very nature of their role and our relationship with them.
The experience and skills that women bring, both inside and outside of the working environment is indispensable to strategic decision-making and ethical sustainable enterprise. We consider it a no-brainer that the quality of women’s talent and leadership is essential to modern business, and we pride ourselves in working with the very best of them!
If you’d like to recruit a top-talent Virtual Assistant, and at the same time support women taking control of their earning power and personal lives, give us a call – we’re happy to help!