Across generations, women have struggled to be taken seriously in professional environments, being subjected to tokenism, condescension, and the soft bigotry of low expectations. And while a lot of progress has been made in recent years, there are still plenty of roadblocks facing the average career-minded woman. But might technology hold a stopgap solution?

To be more specific, I’m talking about the technology of the global online marketplace. One day there may be meaningful parity allowing female professionals to walk paths identical to those of their male counterparts, but until that comes about, women have the option of turning to online entrepreneurship. Here’s why this avenue is so appealing:

It’s backed by great resources and communities

Rates of women going into technical fields are going up, but what of those who can only gaze enviously at the younger generations? The women who feel that they were never given opportunities to develop their business skills, and think it’s too late to pursue self-employment. One of the key reasons why the online marketplace calls out to them is that it’s packed with supportive resources and communities that can help women from all backgrounds.

Here are just some suitable online resources to help entrepreneurial women get started — and then you can factor in all the general resources on every aspect of business, from the fundamental terms of finance to the most complicated aspects of digital marketing. As for communities, this site has one worth checking out, and there are plenty of others out there, ensuring that there’s something for everyone.

It requires no external funding or backing

Women everywhere are familiar with the unpleasant experience of pitching business plans only to see their ideas doubted and their credentials dismissed as inadequate. Convincing investors to get involved is hard enough for men, and even more complicated for women. This alone can be enough to deter some women from pursuing their entrepreneurial ambitions.

But through online entrepreneurship, you can start your own business without needing to get any external funding or backing. It doesn’t matter who doubts you or discounts your chances: you chart your own course. Ecommerce is particularly great for this: using a system like Shopify, you can build a high-quality ecommerce store in a matter of hours, and you don’t even need to have any technical expertise (you just pick from existing templates and tweak them as needed).

It allows exceptional work/life balance

One of the key concerns for many women is finding a way to build a rewarding and successful career while also being able to raise a family. Again, progress has been made regarding women being supported at work during pregnancy (and both men and women getting parental leave at crucial times), but there’s still a lot of prejudice out there.

What’s ideal about becoming an online entrepreneur is that you get to set your own working terms. You decide your schedule, what you charge, which tasks you pursue… and since you can work from anywhere with an internet connection, you’re not tied to a particular office. This incredible flexibility is a huge boon for women everywhere.

The online world is rich with opportunities for women who want to take control of their careers. You can take the initiative, start a business regardless of what anyone else thinks, and build a working life with remarkable freedom. If you haven’t thought about it, why not do so now?

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