Women are wowing in business

The stats are in. Women are a big force in business!

According to the State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, commissioned by American Express, (which can be found here and discussed here) women in business are on the rise. The report “focuses on women-owned businesses, which are defined as businesses that are at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by one or more females.” Here are just a few of the findings from that report:

  • Between 2014 and 2019, the number of women-owned businesses climbed 21 percent, to a total of nearly 13 million. Employment grew by 8 percent, to 9.4 million. Also, revenue rose 21 percent, to $1.9 trillion.
  • Over the past five years, the annual growth rate for women-owned firms has been more than twice that for all businesses.
  • The share of women-owned businesses represented among all businesses has increased from 4.6 percent in 1972 to 42 percent in 2019. (However, women-owned businesses employ only 8 percent of the total private sector workforce, and account for only 4.3 percent of the total private sector revenue.)
  • Women-owned businesses and firms owned equally by men and women account for 49 percent of all businesses. These firms employ 14 percent of the workforce and generate $3.2 trillion of revenue.
  • The number of all women-owned businesses grew 21 percent from 2014 to 2019, but firms owned by women of color grew at twice that rate (43 percent).
  • As of 2019, women of color account for 50 percent of all women-owned businesses.

Interestingly, for the first time, this report also took a look at the increase in part-time entrepreneurship, or the “side hustle” or “sidepreneurship.” The growth rate for women in this sector nearly doubled, from 21 percent in 2014 to 39 percent in 2019.

What accounts for these changes and what makes women successful in business?

Some common theories are that women are skilled in communication, collaboration, relationship building, continuity, problem solving, and flexibility. (For more thoughts on these theories, go here, here, and here.)

All in all, while there is still progress to be made, it seems clear that women are having a significant impact on the economy, revenue, and job growth!

Diversity, equity, and inclusion has been the bedrock of our firm since we opened over 75 years ago. As we like to say, it is in our DNA. We believe that to foster diverse leadership and urge diversity of thought, we must do what we can to advance the conversation about diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and belonging in the workplace and the communities in which our workplaces thrive. Through our blog, we share our insights from the perspective of both an employer and employee, regarding emerging issues that affect diverse leaders and workforces. We hope you enjoy our tidbits of legal and practical information, wisdom, and humor. Thanks for joining the conversation!


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