Going by the number of women freelancer compared to men, one can say, the women freelancer community is thriving. Some of the commonly known reasons for this are an escape from the increased working hours-per-week and inequalities in pay and opportunities at jobs.
Other reasons are biases that women face due to changes that come with family life and motherhood, which do not usually fit in well with corporate cultures in India. Apart from that, women now prefer maintaining diverse work and personal identities, which is not always possible with permanent jobs.
A study by McKinsey shows that around 20% to 30% of professionals in developed markets are engaged in freelance or gig economy. In India, the freelance industry is estimated to grow to $20 to $30 billion by 2025.
In this article, we look into some factors that are driving more women to be freelancers, why we need more of them and how can an ecosystem for women freelancers be beneficial.
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Top reasons for the growth of women freelancer in India:
1) Flexibility of time
One of the biggest reasons why women choose to leave the 9 to 5 grind and choose to freelance is because of the flexibility it provides. Let’s face it: even today, in the age of shared parenting, women shoulder more responsibilities at home taking care of the house and raising children. The corporate culture doesn’t always accommodate these women.
2) Better income
It’s a proven fact: a gendered pay gap exists in organisations. When freelancing, the amount one can earn depends on the individual. There is no limit to it, unlike a fixed salary in the case of full-time jobs.
3) New technologies have made freelancing easier
It is obvious that the Internet has made finding work online easier, as well as it has made working remotely with teams across the globe, a possibility. Platforms such as Fiverr and Upwork are the most popular among freelancers and so are productivity tools such as Toggl.
4) Women are more productive than men
Research shows that women are 10% more productive than men. This goes for both, women who have jobs and those who work as freelancers. Imagine if freelancing was made easier and organised for women, how much a housewife, a homemaker or freelancer mom could achieve?
Not just that, women are better workers, which means clients can be assured that they are going to receive top quality deliverables.
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A healthy ecosystem for women freelancers
A quick search online or on Facebook would reveal a number of groups specifically for women freelancers. Here, women engage in discussions, share opportunities, tips, resources and share encouragement that enhances their freelancing experience.
The reasons: women feel less pressurised when they are in the company of other women, they feel safe, and they do not feel outnumbered by men.
How can women freelancer help others?
Traditionally, women have been thought to be competitive with other and jealous of other women’s achievements, but that’s an old story. Today, women are collaborators and partners in working together and supporting each other. The stereotype has reversed.
Here are 9 ways in which women freelancer can help other women freelancers get ahead:
1) Share resources: good books to read, programs to pursue, or inspiring videos to watch, women could share these with each other. What works for me, could work for you as well.
2) Be a connector: introduce people and clients to other women, expand each other’s network.
3) Refer: give good references and recommendations of women freelancers to clients.
4) Share and spread the word: know a new freelancer or someone who accomplished a prestigious project? Share it, spread the word, encourage her.
5) Support: if you’re looking to collaborate or if you’re seeking services, support those provided by women.
6) Be a good listener: engage in discussions, listen to problems that other women face and help out in any way.
7) Acknowledge: let the women freelancers in your network know that you appreciate their work or admire their work.
8) Invest: not just time and effort, invest funds in women-owned enterprises if you’re looking to fund a business.
9) Give back: mentor young girls, encourage them, teach them, and be an inspiring example to them.
Women connect, also beyond work
Women connect based on shared interests and goals, too. Supporting other women freelancers isn’t always related to work. Remove the word ‘work’ and women will still want to support each other, at times, merely for being women, or being mothers and wanting to work.
Women of certain races or ethnicity support other women of the same race and ethnicity. Women who have gone through traumatic incidents of certain kind support others who have been in similar situations.
Think you’re ready to join your women peers? Think it’s time to have things to give and to take from the women freelancer community? Want to read more about freelancing, business ideas, and entrepreneurship for women? Subscribe to myHQ Digest.
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