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Cracking the Code as a Female Founder Over 50
Life is a carousel. It goes round and round in the same direction for many women.
We grow up and go to school. Exams and extracurriculars are encouraged in order to pave a smooth journey to university. Classes and seminars and lectures. Graduation comes followed by a steady job.
Years are passed in the workplace. We experience incredible highs and disappointing lows. And then one day, you’re over 50. Oops. The carousel breaks.
As the years pass, the likelihood of being passed for promotions and ideas being ignored increases. In the same way, the window for exciting career opportunities starts to slowly close. But why is this? Surely years of experience, sharpened competitive skills and a network of connections should establish women as a worthy competitors to their male peers.
Despite the many attributes that several highly qualified women possess, they are no match for the intrinsically patriarchal corporate world that values either youth or male experience.
However, all is not the end.
Although the corporate world diminishes the worth of the ‘older woman’, the entrepreneurial sphere is a field where older women can prove that their aging is a privilege within their entrepreneurial achievements. Conducted in 2020, a study discovered that entrepreneurs who launched start-ups in their 50s succeeded at roughly the same rate as people starting up in their 20s. The same study also proved that female founders’ chance of success is higher in later life, thereby debunking the myth that youth have a monopoly on success.
No matter your age or gender, it is never too late to crack the code of entrepreneurship.
In Entrepreneurship, Age is an Asset
It is a common occurrence within the corporate hierarchy that women struggle to get to the top. In 2023, only 10% of Fortune 500 companies are led by women. Research conducted over the last few years have shown that the earnings of older female workers are affected by the intersection of gender and age discrimination, therefore older female workers are at even higher risk of receiving lower pay compared to the earnings of men in similar positions. This is not the case for their younger female counterparts (e.g. it was reported in late 2019 that the gender pay gap widens to the greatest extent when workers reach their 50s).
Although employers are encouraged to make widespread changes to issue of the age discrimination within the workplace, there is still an antiquated perception within the corporate world of the older woman and the advantages of placing them in a high-level role within the corporate hierarchy.
However, in the entrepreneurial sphere where you are judged on the quality of your services rather than years spent in a role, getting older means gaining confidence in your skills and learning from the lessons that a long career can give you. In addition, with age, usually comes more clarity – of who you are, what you want, and what you seek to achieve. You’re done with the soul-sucking corporate rat race and wish to take control and fulfil your purpose. This change in mindset, helps you easily definite your business’ mission, leading to a greater likelihood of success. By utilising their passion, expertise, and experience when executing their business idea, founders over 50 can think of their age as an asset, rather than a drawback.
From Market Drivers to Market Leaders
Women over 50 don’t just have the disposable income to buy that designer purse. They also essentially hold the world’s purse strings.
Along with their well-honed leadership and relationship-building qualities that can help significantly help build a business, women over 50 also control more than 27% of all consumer spending – totalling up to $15 trillion.
With women in their 50s and over controlling 95% of household purchasing decisions and having more capital to spend (women 50+ represent the largest demographic with incomes higher than $100,000), they are able to establish themselves as huge market drivers and significant economic influencers.
As a member of this economic superpower, female founders over 50 can not only reach one of the most powerful markets in the world but also work out exactly what it is they want and need – thereby promoting themselves from market drivers to market leaders.
More Power in Social Media
It is a common trope within society that older people are dismissed as not being tech or social media savvy.
This is far from true.
Whilst usage of social media remains static amongst millennials and Zoomers, those over the age of 40 make up 31.3% of TikTok’s active users. A social platform that typically ages out 25-year-olds, TikTok has now become a home to many people 40, 50, and 60-plus, creating and overturning entrenched narratives around life choices, fashion sub-cultures, and fitness capabilities. With social media establishing itself as a medium where everyone can have a voice and express it, it is only prudent that it is also a place where a new path is being carved by a demographic who are fed up with being told what they can and cannot do by society.
It’s simply no longer true that your professional success diminishes after 50. You have more power than you think. As a female founder over 50 who is dedicated to overturning the narrative on female aging and shining the light on women over 50, trust me. I know what I’m talking about.
About the Author
Name: Kiran Kumar
Professional Title: Founder of ‘You Are Not Invisible After 50’ and the SPF50+ Movement
Bio: Starting with a podcast that shines the light on a line-up of phenomenal women over 50 who are redefining what it means to be a woman over 50 through their incredible achievements, You Are Not Invisible After 50 is on a mission to change society’s ageist and sexist narrative on the ‘older woman’. Now with the titular podcast in the second season and one of Spotify’s top 10% most globally shared podcasts, You Are Not Invisible After 50 has now created a collective movement, the SPF50+ Movement, to fight ageism, sexism and bend the sisterhood by providing women with the tools, inspiration, and community to rediscover their visibility and shine brighter than ever – no matter their age.
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