Why is it that women make up only 2 percent of the top jobs in ASX 200 companies? While many could argue women lose important career-progression time while conceiving and raising children, their lack of representation in the top corporate roles is damning if we consider that more women start their own businesses than men.
But it's well known that half of start-up businesses fail in the first few years, so are all of these women falling head-first into financial hardship before they get a chance to come up for air?
Melissa Widner, chairwoman of female entrepreneur support group Heads Over Heels, told the Sydney Morning Herald that the problem for women in the business world is that they lack the support network that men are born with.
"Running a cafe or a consulting business is one thing, but businesses that require scale need access to deep networks and strategic relationships and access to funding, and often women lack those networks," she said.
If you're a woman in business and are struggling for funding, there are ways to get solid financial advice and support for the kind of funding that could take your business to the next level.
For instance, many financial institutions, particularly the major banks, have set up small business support programs and some are targeting women such as Commonwealth Bank's Women in Focus program. CBA also offers business coaching workshops and events.
Westpac has a women's markets department, and claims to be the only bank with a unit dedicated to supporting women. The service offered includes seminars, events and an online forum.
These types of programs give women in business direct access to successful entrepreneurs as well as financial advice from the banks.
Once you know what type of finance you need for your business (such as business credit cards types of loans), don't forget to compare deals online so you are getting the best savings possible. Because, after all, the better the funding deal you can find, the higher investment potential and success rate you will have for your business.
Michelle Hutchison is a consumer advocate at RateCity. RateCity is a privately owned company in partnership with ninemsn, publisher of the Australian Women's Weekly website. The above information is general only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.
Your say: Do you have any advice for women in business?