With International Women’s Day in March, and the UK celebrating a centenary since women’s suffrage was achieved, the spotlight is very much on the need for full gender parity. The global #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns, as well as recent gender pay gap disputes, have also highlighted just how far there is yet to go in the workplace. So, perhaps the time is right for more women worldwide to #PressforProgress and call the shots as entrepreneurs.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme of #PressforProgress is an inspirational call to action for women everywhere. Although great progress has been made towards gender equality in the last century, there is still a long way to go, as highlighted by The World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2017, which asserts that full parity will take at least 200 years to achieve. But, perhaps we’ve now hit the fast-track to progress, as the world is currently experiencing a wake-up call where women in work are concerned. However, who can wait for a distant forecast of full equality in the workplace, when we need to make ends meet today? So, what is the solution for the individual woman in need of progress now?

Taking the path less trodden

Well, perhaps it calls for a radical approach to rapidly sidestep the restrictions, known as the glass ceiling, imposed on women in the workplace, and make your own progress. Sometimes it requires a leap of faith to create the changes needed, so many are taking the path less trodden by becoming entrepreneurs and running their own businesses.

The options available to achieve this are plentiful, and do not have to involve anything as petrifying as presenting a business pitch to a panel of intimidating investors on a TV show. You can start as small as you like and run your start-up alongside your employed role, as a side gig, until it really takes off.

Indeed, hedging your bets in this way is becoming increasingly popular, as recent figures show that a record number of women are now running part-time businesses. And if you’re looking for a field where women excel, you might want to consider starting a direct selling business, where around 75% of the workforce is made up of women.

Be a trailblazer

However, to be a truly successful entrepreneur, sometimes you need to be willing to take calculated risks and opt for something new. Indeed, to succeed, it’s important to think outside the box and be visionary in your choices. One such trailblazer, who is enjoying great success with her business, is Anna-Karin Backlund.

Based in Sweden, Anna-Karin made the decision to start her own direct selling business by joining Learning Enterprises Organisation Ltd (LEO) in January 2016, and has not looked back since. With its own digital currency, LEOcoin, and crowdfunding platform, LEOcrowd, it was LEO’s groundbreaking innovation that won Anna-Karin over, as she recognised the potential for success it offered.

Forward-thinking in her outlook, she says: ‘What I love about LEO is the enormous amount of innovation they do regarding digital currency, and a big reason to join was that it is a company that really thinks with its heart!’ Through sheer hard work Anna-Karin has now already climbed to the rank of Executive, and when LEO introduced its new Digital Market Service, her business really took off.

Available to those who join LEO and work their way up to a required minimum level, the Digital Market Service provides a simple way to get involved in the digital currency revolution, without being an expert, by renting digital currency mining power for 12 months in return for earning Bitcoin or Ethereum. This has gone down a storm and where some might have been skeptical about such new technology, Anna-Karin’s open-mindedness has really paid off and her business is booming.

Faith it ‘til you make it

So, what’s stopping more women from calling the shots and achieving success such as this as an entrepreneur? Well, in a business world where men still predominate, some suggest that this may be down to what has been called ‘the gender confidence gap’, where regardless of ability, women see themselves as less capable than men. However, the good news is that the tide is now turning, as recent research shows that the gender gap in entrepreneurism is now narrowing, with the number of women going into business in the UK alone rising by 45% in the last decade.

So, how do you go about grabbing your own piece of progress and making it as an entrepreneur? Well, apart from venturing where others may not have gone before, a sure-fire way to progress in your business is to stay positive and never give up. As Anna-Karin puts it: ‘Never doubt yourself, you can accomplish more than you think!’ When you put your whole heart into your work, always see opportunities in every meeting and never ever give up, it won’t take long before the reward is there in front of you – You gotta faith it, till you make it!’

So, to #PressforProgress that doesn’t take 200 years, perhaps the answer is for more women to really believe in themselves and change the workplace from within, by starting their own businesses as entrepreneurs.