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Originally published June 7 2008

Fast Facts About Women in Business in America

by Barbara L. Minton

(NaturalNews) Women entrepreneurs are increasing at an extraordinary rate, continuing to enter fields traditionally dominated by men. Women owned firms now account for nearly 40 percent of U.S. businesses, although only 3% of these businesses gross a million or more in annual revenues. Women's inspiration and creativity are abundant, while start up financing remains a challenging obstacle. Here is a list of fast facts recently published by the National Women's Council that contains the most up to date information currently available on privately held women owned businesses in the U.S.

* The number of women-owned businesses continues to grow at twice the rate of all U.S. firms, and their economic influence is increasing at speeds exceeding the national average.

* Growth rates are higher than average among women-owned firms with $1 million or more in sales and 100 or more employees, yet most women-owned firms are very small, with no more than 10 employees.

* Women-owned firms continue to face challenges, including access to capital, access to markets and access to training and technical assistance.

* In 2004, women accounted for more than 51 percent of the United States population and 47 percent of the American labor force.

* As of 2006, there were an estimated 10.4 million privately-held businesses in which a woman or women owned at least 50 percent of the company. Among them, 7.7 million were majority-owned.

* Between 1997 and 2002, women-owned firms increased their employment by 70,000, whereas firms owned by men lost 1 million employees.

* Between 1997 and 2002, an average of 424 new women-owned firms were started every day, translating into nearly 775,000 start-ups per year and accounting for 55 percent of new firm start-ups.

* Between 1997 and 2002, women-owned firms increased by 19.8 percent and women owned employer firms (firms with one or more paid employees other than the owner) increased by 8.3 percent.

* Women-owned businesses exhibited the same tenacity and survival rates as the average U.S. firms, with more than two-thirds (68.5%) of women-owned employer business locations in existence in 1997 still in operation four years later. Among all employer establishments, 69.8 percent remained in business in 2001.

* Between 1997 and 2001, women-owned employer establishments proved to be more resilient than employer firms overall during the period, with a 9.3 percent decline in employment among those firms in business in 1997 - compared to a 10.9 percent decline among all establishments.

* An estimated $546 billion is spent annually on salaries and benefits by women-owned businesses.

* The workforces of women-owned firms show more gender equity. Women business owners overall employ a roughly balanced workforce (52% women, 48% men), while men business owners employ 38 percent women and 62 percent men, on average.

* While women-owned family businesses are somewhat smaller in size compared with the average annual revenues of their male-owned counterparts ($26.4 million vs. 30.4 million), they generate their sales with fewer median employees, employing 26 individuals compared with 50 at male-owned family firms. This means that female-owned family businesses are 1.7 times more productive than male-owned family firms.

Additional sources:

Report from Center for Women's Leadership at Babson College

About the author

Barbara is a school psychologist, a published author in the area of personal finance, a breast cancer survivor using "alternative" treatments, a born existentialist, and a student of nature and all things natural.

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