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Women’s Rising Entrepreneurship Still No Challenge to Male-Owned Businesses

Women’s entrepreneurship has risen over the last two decades. Today, 11.6M female-owned businesses exist. Even more interestingly, the number of women-owned businesses increased 114 percent between 1997 and 2017.

However, nearly all of these businesses are small; most constitute 500 employees or less. Even so, women entrepreneurs generate $2.5T in sales, $264B in labor, and account for 12 percent of sales and 15 percent of employment.

Women-owned businesses fall behind male-owned in employment, sales, and payroll. Although specific ethnic groups such as non-minorities and Asians have higher employer percentages among women, they still sit behind the male-owned employer percentages. For instance, the female Asian percentage is 16.9 while the male percentage is 28.5. This may directly result from the specific types of businesses women own because they often choose low-employment industries.

The 11 states with the highest percentages of female entrepreneurs (in no particular order) include Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, and Nevada. A few successful woman-owned companies include Forever21, Eventbrite, Sunrun, and Houzz, according to USC Marshall.

Actually, women-owned businesses are more prominent in specific fields, such as educational services, mining, admin, support and waste management, arts, entertainment, and recreation, transportation and warehousing, real estate, rental and leasing, healthcare and social assistance, and IT services.

Women have especially made their mark within business firms. Another American Express report reveals that the percentage of women-owned firms increased 45.2 percent between 2007 and 2016.

A Cornell University study also found that women-owned businesses survive longer than male-owned businesses and even out-survive male-owned businesses in 20 areas: schools and educational studies, dance, wholesale hardware, business services, advertising agencies, drinking places serving liquor, drapery/upholstery stores, commercial art and graphic design, family clothing stores, miscellaneous home furnishing stores, liquor stores, direct selling establishments, services, women’s accessory and specialty stores, florists, jewelry stores, apparel and specialty stores, women’s clothing stores, souvenir and novelty shops, and toy/game shops.

Although the percentage of women-owned businesses has increased significantly within the last 20 years, women still have not caught up to men in ownership percentages. Dr. Sangeeta Bharadwaj Badal from Gallup believes that erasing the gender gap in business ownership could significantly help women and the overall economy.

“Increased rates of entrepreneurship would not only help women attain better livelihoods, but would also help them achieve more economic independence and greater personal autonomy,” she said. “And more female entrepreneurs entering high-growth sectors will lead to new jobs and higher economic growth.”

It’s also important for women to start businesses in male-dominated fields. A senior research associate at IWPR, Jessica Milli, noted that this has indeed occurred.

“The highest amount of growth in the number of women-owned businesses were actually very male dominated industries,” Milli told The Atlantic.

Due to this, it’s important for women to continue enterprising businesses and to narrow the gender gap. It’s time to show men that women’s participation is very important in maintaining a strong economy.

Featured Image by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

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