Business Advice

Out of sight but certainly not out of mind on International Women’s Day

Leanne Faulkner /

Leanne Faulkner

Leanne Faulkner. Source: Supplied

In Australia the small business landscape is dominated by males. In fact, approximately 65% of all small businesses in Australia are owned or managed by males. But given the latest ABS data shows that about 60% of the population over 15 years are in some form of relationship (married or defacto),I think it’s safe to assume that many of our small business owners may indeed have a partner.

The recent white paper released by Everymind and iCare about small business mental health identified that a small business person is more likely to go online or talk to a family member for support when needed. When times are tough in business it’s often an immediate family member who witnesses the struggles and is there for the business owner. Given the small business has a large percentage of male owners, I believe that there are an awful lot of women out there helping their partners and therefore the success of small business in Australia.

In addition, I’d think there’s also a lot of females supporting their female partners who own small business too, as well as men who are supporting their small business owning partners, both female and male.

I often hear anecdotally about the incredible role partners play supporting a person who owns a small business. In particular I have heard of many instances where the partner of a small business owner has had to step up and manage the business because their spouse is struggling with the stress of a particular situation.

These are the women we may not think of as business women but in my eyes they most certainly are.

I hear about women who work in the corporate sector and come home at night to do the books or invoicing for their partner’s small business. Importantly, I’ve also had women approach me when they feel concerned about the wellbeing of their partner as they watch them work tirelessly to start or grow their business venture.

These are the women I will be acknowledging on International Women’s Day.

They are the women of small business who probably don’t even think they’re in the business! They are the women who do whatever they can to support their partner while they grow a small business. They are the women who meet with the accountants, lawyers or administrators on behalf of their partner when things don’t go as planned. They are the women who listen to challenges their loved ones share with them.

They are the contributors to the Australian small business landscape who may be out of sight but most certainly are not out of mind. Thank you for all you do.

Click here to read about the women inspiring Australian business and startups.

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Leanne Faulkner

Leanne Faulkner is a small business mental health advocate and the founder of Billie Goat Soap, which she grew from a kitchen-based hobby and later sold to The Heat Group. Drawing on her own experience, Leanne advocates for more mental health resources to support small business owners through her Fortitude at Work website and Facebook page. She has worked with the Australian Taxation Office, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, and the Victorian Small Business Commissioner, and is an ambassador for the Council of Small Business of Australia. She was named the COSBOA Business Champion Award in 2015, and now represents COSBOA on the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance. 

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