Neuroscientist and success trainer Shonté Jovan Taylor reveals the mental stress women face working from the deficit.

By Shonté Jovan Taylor, MSc, Ph.D(c), Photo courtesy Shonté Jovan Taylor

Our mothers and grandmothers showed us how to make a little go a long way by surviving on minimal resources. However, stretching limited resources often does not translate into sustainable growth or success in our professions and businesses, especially when internal and external barriers make these resources invisible or inaccessible.

The solution? 

We must address both internal and external processes and systems to make women more likely to succeed at work and in business. Society thrives when women have a strong presence in the business world and in organizations. In nature, thriving ecosystems have a diversity of organisms. Human ecosystems are no different. Every area where women have been deliberately or unintentionally excluded needs to better represent women.

Having to work in deficit is a major challenge for women. One of the obvious deficits is financial capital. According to the Harvard Business Review, women receive less than 3% of all venture capital funding. 

Furthermore, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, it will take 250 years for the economic gender gap to close. Considering that women still earn about 82 cents for every dollar men earn, and it’s even lower for Black women (65 cents) and Latina women (60 cents), we can see the financial deficit that women face in their professional and business lives.

Women may not consider intangible deficiencies that can hinder their success including motivation, mental energy and time. It’s easy for women to start their lives in the deficit mentally, physically and emotionally, because of traditional gender roles. 

As a result of societal constructs, women tend to take care of their households; as a consequence, they work fewer hours in the workplace and within their businesses. The result is that women are unable to spend as much time as they need networking, finding capital, etc., in order to thrive. 

Women also carry a heavier mental load than men. Mental load refers to the effort involved in managing your work, relationships, family and household. Too much mental load can interfere with decision-making and focus. Our brains are like batteries; they require regular recharging and fueling. Productivity, decision-making, networking, managing emotions and ultimately consistent growth and success depend on our mental batteries.  

According to the National Library of Medicine, the allostatic load is a phenomenon referring to the cumulative “weight” of dealing with persistent stress and life events. In women of color, this becomes load compounded when factoring in historical PTSD as a result of centuries of racial inequities and race-related violence. The emotional and mental load women of color face often depletes their mental batteries and causes deficits when they face systemic challenges. In the wake of traumatic events, most people experience a great deal of emotional and mental stress.

These times tend to coincide with ebbs and flows of venture capital; during these tragic events, financial support tends to increase for Black women and decrease when headlines fade, according to the World Economic Forum. So for minority women, that financial support ebb and flow further compounds the mental load.

Our professional or business potential is limited if we are constantly in the red. Is there a way to begin filling in the gaps (or deficits), especially considering that societal success strongly correlates to women’s success?



There needs to be systems and processes in place to minimize or remove the barriers discussed. Financial barriers can be overcome by increasing venture capital funding dedicated to women. For example, VC firms investing in women- or minority-owned businesses could benefit from governmental funding or tax incentives, creating a steady flow of capital and reducing mental load. Additionally, providing free education and mentorship via organizations like Girls in Tech and Amazon Web Services can help overcome the educational deficit women often suffer from.


There is a need for more awareness among women about what they need to succeed and thrive so they can engage in activities that will reduce their mental load and fuel their motivation to move up in their companies, start businesses or grow their current businesses.


There is a lack of research specifically focused on what challenges women face and how they thrive. Producing more of this research would allow processes and systems to be analyzed and new ones developed that provide women with the resources they need to succeed. 

Ultimately, women are going to have a greater chance of being success-FULL if they start with more resources that are on par with their male counterparts and tailored to meet their unique needs.


Shonté Jovan Taylor is a revolutionary neuroscientist, author and founder of OptiMind Institute, with a mission to unlock the potential of one billion minds. As a world-renowned coach and success trainer, her empowering message has been sought after around the world. She is an expert at inspiring others to optimize their brain power in life, business and profession to realize their potential.



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