It’s easy to see that women are making constant strides in business, but the facts behind the advancements may startle you.
Let’s get some rather grim statistics out of the way before we look at the good news. Despite all our efforts on a grass roots social level to empower women as business leaders, the numbers are actually discouraging.
According to the Center for American Progress in 2014, women compose roughly 50.8% of the population in the United States, they earn 60% of both graduate and master’s degrees, and 44% of master’s degrees in business and management. However, “they are only 14.6 percent of executive officers, 8.1 percent of top earners, and 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs.”
These numbers are staggeringly disproportionate and indicate a bias toward men when it comes to climbing the ladder inside big companies. However, women are great at finding a work-around to the good old boys’ club: they go into business for themselves.
Converse to these woefully imbalanced numbers of women in positions of power, women are surging ahead when it comes to forging their own companies. Check out these figures:
- Women are starting their own companies at 1.5 times the average rate across the country .
- The U.S. ranks number one among 31 countries in supporting female entrepreneurship, according to a study conducted by Dell.
- Women-owned businesses generate $1.7 trillion, a 79% increase since 1997.
- “Businesses with a woman on the executive team are more likely to have significantly higher valuations at Series A–as in, 64 percent higher.”
- “46% percent of the privately held companies in the U.S. are now at least half owned by women.”
- Growth rates for revenue and employment among women-owned companies continue to outshine their male counterparts over the last two decades.2 Between 2007-2015, male owned companies shed 1.5 million jobs, where companies with women in charge created 340,000 jobs in the same period.
What are we to extrapolate from this? The obvious conclusion is that more women are having success across the board with regard to job satisfaction, profit, job creation, and competition when they strike out on their own. They receive significantly less venture capital than men in their same field, yet their businesses achieve more long-term success[1.]
Even more promising are the facts when it comes to ethnic background: in 1997 non-Caucasian women represented one million female-owned firms, where today that number is at a staggering 3.1 million, outstripping non-minority women business owners several fold[3.] So credit where credit is due: women of color are major contributors to the health of our national economy and they are often operating with less capital, mentorship, and resources. Food for thought.
If we look at the essential principles of liberty and free enterprise that our nation was based on, we can see that women are carrying that torch with more determination and success than ever. It is important that we continue to push the envelope when it comes to the corporate world, but if you are on the fence about starting your own business, consider the prosperity your fellow sisters have created for themselves, and how you can join that circle.