Women aspire to be their own boss, driven by unequal treatment in the workplace

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Research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Herbalife Nutrition reveals the challenges women face in the workplace (Photo by KOBU Agency on Unsplash).

Three-quarters of women aspire to open their own business, according to new research.

A new survey of 9,000 women across 15 countries, including 2,000 women in the U.S., found that globally, the majority (72%) aspire to open their own business — of those, 50% don’t yet have a business and 22% have one but would like to open another.

For American women polled, 57% have dreams of being an entrepreneur. This is an increase from last year’s Global Entrepreneurship survey*, which found 46% had aspirations to open a business.

And part of that increase may be due to the economic uncertainty many people are facing.

Conducted by OnePoll, Herbalife Nutrition’s second annual “Global Entrepreneurship” survey looked into the challenges women face in the workplace — and the goal many respondents have of opening their own business.

Across the globe, the top motivation for starting a business was revealed as “becoming my own boss” (61%).

Becoming a role model for younger women was found to be a motivating factor for 80% of respondents, while 62% would like to start a business due to unfair treatment in previous job roles.

The survey delved into this unfair treatment and found women, globally, have experienced challenges to success in the workplace — when compared to their male colleagues.

This was revealed to include fewer opportunities for promotion (33%) and a lack of equal pay (31%).

Results also found 43% of women surveyed have delayed having children because they thought it would negatively affect their career — as a quarter of women surveyed said they have faced pregnancy discrimination.

Forty-two percent believe they’ve been unfairly overlooked for a raise or promotion because of their gender — and of those, the average respondents had it happen three separate times.

But that’s not all: 72% of the women surveyed believe women have to work harder to be given the same opportunities as men in the workforce — but two-thirds (67%) are committed to helping break the glass ceiling.

And one way they’re breaking through is with aspirations of entrepreneurship.

“Being an entrepreneur is not always an easy path, but with the right opportunity, hard work and a supportive community, it can be very rewarding,” said Jenny Hienrich, SVP, Worldwide Member Services & Operations, Herbalife Nutrition. “It’s exciting that this year more women want to start their own business, and I expect that there will be an overall increase in the number of people interested in entrepreneurship.”

But that doesn’t mean they expect entrepreneurship to be smooth sailing: A third of women with plans for entrepreneurship (33%) are “very worried” about their business — or future business — failing in the next five years.

The top three challenges when starting a business were revealed to all revolve around money — earning enough money to offset costs (51%), having enough budget to grow (51%) and financing their business (48%).

This concern for money was echoed in last year’s survey, as women reported financing their business to be the most challenging aspect (58%) in 2019.

For many though, the benefits outweigh the challenges. The top potential benefit to entrepreneurship was revealed to be the potential income growth (54%), followed by the ability to be their own boss (52%) and more flexibility in their work/life schedule (45%).

Hienrich added, “Entrepreneurship is a growing global trend for many years and one we are very passionate about supporting.”


  1. Fewer opportunities for promotion, when compared to male colleagues 33%
  2. Lack of equal pay 31%
  3. Aren’t taken seriously by bosses/colleagues 31%
  4. Sexual harassment/workplace sexism 30%
  5. Expected to be the primary caregiver for children, in addition to working 29%
  6. Lack of women in C-Suite/management positions 25%
  7. Pregnancy discrimination 25%
  8. Exclusion from male-dominated fields 21%
  9. Lack of female role models 20%
  10. Racial and ethnical racism 14%
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  1. Potential to grow my income 54%
  2. Ability to be my own boss 52%
  3. Flexibility in my work life/schedule 45%
  4. Ability to better support my family 44%
  5. Increased job satisfaction 40%
  6. Ability to pursue my passion 40%
  7. Potential to earn what I believe I’m worth 37%
  8. Believe in the work that I’m doing/the product I’m creating 37%
  9. Increased time with my family 36%
  10. Have an impact on society/community; a purpose 30%

*The 2019 Global Entrepreneurship survey polled 23,500 respondents (11,750 women) across 24 countries, with 1,000 American women included

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