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Category 2 : Coping Mechanisms

Category 2 : Coping Mechanisms
Research QuestionThemesCategory
How do these female entrepreneurs address gender biases in their industry?Demonstrate confidence in abilities. Strive for excellence in all tasks. Establish strong, lasting connections. Be open to compromise. Seek financial support from friends, family, and colleagues.Coping mechanisms

The responses for the mentioned themes can be found in the tables below, with participants denoted as “Pp.”.

 Theme A: Demonstrate confidence in abilities

Pp1As a gender equality advocate, I am aware that these biases exist. So, I always make my business about the business rather than about me. I let the quality of my work, my competence, experience, and skills lead rather than me
Pp2Because I want to expand and grow, I work with different people every day, and when I meet these people on site dominated by men, they try to belittle me and make comments like ‘what does she know about construction, what is she doing here, does she know anything about measurement’. I always shock them with my skills and capabilities and win their respect professionally
Pp5Being a skilled passionate copywriter, I seek international clients and I get foreign clients for my contents. The fact that those countries abroad thought that this woman is good enough, gave me the confidence. If these foreigners think that I am good at what I do, then these people in Nigeria should understand that I am good at what I do

 Theme B: Strive for excellence in all tasks.

Pp2As a female in a male dominated industry, I learned the nitty-gritty of the job to prove to the male workers that I can
Pp3I know my content; I know what I bring to the table when it comes to customer service/customer experience. I research and read a lot to equip myself with more knowledge. I know my skills, so when these biases tend to want to rattle me, I go back to the successes and reviews that I have had. Basically, that is what keeps me going
Pp4The good thing about being a woman is that you get to improvise. As a mom, I apply motherhood transferable skills when dealing with clients and it works for me. My motherhood skills help me in my business, and I get good ratings, hence more contracts
Pp5Over time, I have come to grow a thick skin towards these gender biases. This is due to my years of experience and the kind of people that I have worked with
Pp6I go very prepared. So, when they display biases, I don’t care. When I start to talk, they see that I am beyond ‘she is just a woman’ and they’re forced to sit down and listen to what I have to say

Theme C: Establish strong, lasting connections

Pp2I establish friendship with the most notorious boy on site to avoid being harassed by the community extortionists who go about forcefully demanding money from contractors on site. I also give supply job to the chairman of the community. For instance, I gave a community chairman the contract of sand-filling for the church I am building. To avoid giving constant bribes to the miscreants in the host community, I make friend with the chairman of the host community. I also had to make friends with the Nigerian army and navy officer who help me take care of any gender related issues affecting my business
Pp3I am emotionally involved when I train people. I ask questions like ‘why do you do what you do?’ What is your driving force?’ If you had a million dollars, what would you do today?’ I give my trainees knowledge; value and I try to help them discover what makes them tick. That’s my secret ‘spice’. For me, value is reaching out to the heart of the people and not just their head. I have built a whole lot of relationships in my trainings: with staff, with business owners. As a result of the relationship I build, I have gotten a lot of business contracts, even more from referrals

 Theme D: Be open to compromise.

Pp1Another participant takes a male associate to meetings to prevent sexual advances from male clients. She added that it was necessary because the presence of a male discourages any sexual intention from male clients.  
Pp5When it comes to fitness business in Nigeria, some customers (male and females) prefer to go to a male trainer. As a woman, having to always convince them that I know my job sometimes is exhausting. Sometimes I reduce my price just to be able to attract the clients, and could convince them that I am good at what I do
Pp6Initially, when I desperately needed funds to keep the business going, I had to get males who understood what I do to speak on behalf of my business to secure funds
Pp7I bring a male counterpart along, to bid for contracts. I brief him on everything and prepare him for presentations. He is not in my line of business, but I prepare him for the presentation anyways to secure biddings. At the end of the day, the presence of a male gets me the job. So, to follow-up on the client and to remain in business with them, whenever my company is invited to a dinner or any event organised by same company, I go with the male counterpart to keep up appearance

 Theme E: Seek financial support from friends, family, and colleagues.

Pp1My business primarily has been funded by family, and investors who happen to be co-founders or partners
Pp6The rates of interest for financial institutions are crazy. Some of them ask for huge collateral. My main source of funding has always been friends and family. Luckily, I have people that believe in me so when I need funds for my business, I go to them. I can pay them a certain interest but it’s not as much as the financial institutions would charge

Please follow the link to Category 3 of the findings, and learn how these biases affect business success of these female founders.



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