There’s little doubt that it’s difficult to be a female entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur is hard enough regardless of gender, but women have to navigate a culture that’s highly masculine and often skeptical of their ability to succeed. The fact is that men are far more likely to launch their own business than women, and bridging this gap means providing female entrepreneurs with support networks that are now largely absent. Read on to learn more about the challenges that women in particular face. These issues can be largely circumvented by having cheerleaders to spur them on to greater heights.

The prevalence of impostor syndrome

First identified in 1978, “impostor syndrome” is a common occurrence where an individual is concerned about being uncovered as a fraud. The big worry here is that those who feel like an impostor likely don’t have reason to, but this attitude impacts various areas of their lives. Lack of confidence and an absence of encouragement can quickly erode away one’s self-worth, but it’s especially dangerous for women. After all, when you’re operating in an environment that’s absent of other women, it’s much more likely that you’re going to start feeling like an outsider.

Men and women deal with insecurity differently

People are more likely to identify men as confident and assured in their decision-making skills, but this view is an issue where accepted notions create a self-fulfilling prophecy. We live in a society that insists that men are better in the business world, and the predominance of masculine standards within this world both creates an environment where women are less likely to succeed and less likely to pursue a job in the field in the first place. The result is that men are encouraged to set aside their insecurities for the sake of their professional careers while women are encouraged to nurture them to their own detriment.

Women can offer better return on investments

While encouraging women to become entrepreneurs is important for achieving more gender equity, it can also do significant good for the sake of the global economy. Research demonstrates that teams led by women actually have a 35% higher ROI than men. That suggests that the same cultural standards and gender expectations that serve as a barrier to entry for women can be of great benefit for businesses. As a result, female investors are actually more likely to invest in businesses led by women.