50+ Women in Business Stats: Trends, Improvements, and Opportunities for Change

We’ve seen promising growth for women in business in recent years. But is it enough? Read the article for advancements and opportunities based on the latest data.

Women’s role in business is constantly expanding, especially in recent years. In fact, the news is full of headlines highlighting increases in female entrepreneurship. Women are starting more new businesses than ever, employing more people, and earning more. At first glance, these results are quite promising.

Yet women-owned businesses still account for less than half of all US businesses. And, while entrepreneurship amongst women is growing globally, men still dominate – there are three male entrepreneurs for every one female entrepreneur. 

So – what can we really say about the state of women in business today? How much impact do they have on the economy? How do the numbers of women in business compare to men? How do the numbers differ from country to country? This article will take a look at the statistics from the most recent studies to form a clear picture of female entrepreneurs and business leaders around the globe.

Women in Business in 2022

There are many ways women can get involved in business – whether that’s as entrepreneurs, investors, small business owners, microbusiness owners, board members, or corporate leaders. Additionally, there are women of all different backgrounds in business – women of various cultures, races, religions, lifestyles, financial classes, and life experiences. 

It’s important to acknowledge that all of these elements can impact how and when women get into business. With that in mind, let’s dig into the current conditions of women in business today.

Women Own Millions of Businesses in America 

According to the 2020 National Women’s Business Council Annual Report, women own almost 13 million businesses in the US. That accounts for an estimated 42% of all US businesses. Plus, 66% of American female business owners are the sole owners of their companies.

Pie chart - women owned businesses in the US

We can look at previous years to get a better understanding of what these numbers really mean. For example, in 2007, there were 7.8 million women-owned businesses in America. The number of women-owned businesses in the US has nearly doubled in the last 15 years.

Top Ranking Locations for Women-Owned Businesses May Surprise You

In the US, Georgia, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, and South Dakota rank among the top states for women-owned businesses in terms of overall numbers, employment, and revenue. By the same measures, the top cities for women-owned businesses are Detroit, MI, Charlotte NC, Atlanta GA, Austin, TX, and San Antonio, TX.

Top states for women-owned businesses

These are especially interesting statistics because you might assume that highly-populated cities, like Chicago or New York, would have more female-owned businesses due to the sheer number of people living there. In reality, it appears that less-populated cities and states have more women-owned businesses, and those businesses are successful in terms of revenue and employment. 

This could be for several reasons, though there isn’t sufficient data to draw a definite conclusion. For one, bigger cities tend to have more job opportunities. For example, Austin, TX and Orlando, FL rank among the top cities for job seekers in 2022. It’s also possible that smaller cities are more accommodating to small businesses, as there’s less competition and, arguably, more of a sense of community.

Women-Owned Businesses Are Growing… But Not That Fast

According to a Gusto survey, in 2019, 28% of new business owners were women. By 2020, that number jumped to 49%. Then, in 2021, it remained at 49%. While that is promising growth in women-owned businesses, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll see long-term change. 

Line graph - new businesses opened by women

In fact, we’ve seen similar exciting jumps in the past. For example, from 1997 to 2007, women-owned businesses grew by 44%. During that period, the number of women-owned businesses grew twice as fast as male-owned businesses. Yet today, men still own the majority of businesses in America. 

We can also see a disparity in revenue. A Biz2Credit analysis of 40,000 firms found that women-owned businesses earned an average of $330,226 in annual revenue in 2020. That’s down from 2019 when the average sat at $384,359. 

The decline continued on into the next year, as the same annual report found that profits of women-owned businesses dropped by 26% from 2020 to 2021. Revenues decreased by 4% while expenses went up, which could account for some of the loss of profit. 

There are other signs of a lack of growth. For example, the average credit score for female business owners dropped from 588 in 2020 to 580 in 2021. Meanwhile, the average male business owner in the study had a credit score of 594.

Women in Corporate Roles

Many women participate in business every day via their jobs. We can gauge growth by reviewing women in senior management roles. These numbers give us a better understanding of what opportunities for advancement women receive.

Infographic - women in senior management

In 2021, we saw the highest number of women in senior management roles ever recorded – 31% worldwide. That’s up from 29% in 2017. Additionally, 90% of companies across the globe report having one or more women in a senior management role. While most companies are offering more opportunities to women, they’re still giving the majority of roles to men.

The roles women have also vary compared to men. Female leaders are more likely to have an HR director position than any other senior management role. 

That number has gone down from 2020 to 2021, while the percentage of women in roles like chief finance officer, chief executive officer, and chief information officer increased. For example, the number of female CEOs and managing directors went from 15% in 2019 to 26% in 2021. It appears that the senior roles women get are leveling out to be more on par with men, though there’s still a long way to go.

It also appears that the more successful the business itself is, the fewer senior roles that women get. Just 24 (4.8%) of all Fortune Global 500 companies have female chief executive officers. That’s up from 12 in 2016 and 2018. The numbers are slightly better in the US, where women run 44 (8.8%) of the companies in the Fortune 500. 

Infographic - women in corporate roles

As you might expect, you can see the number of women dwindle as you review the roles along the corporate ladder. In a 2020 analysis of more than 1,100 organizations around the world, researchers found that women made up 47% of support staff, 42% of professionals, 37% of managers, 29% of senior managers, and just 23% of executives. 

Women Start Businesses to Pursue Passion, Independence, and More

What drives women to start their own businesses, anyway? Per the 2019 VISA State of Female Entrepreneurship Report, the top motivator for women to start a business was to pursue a passion (48%). Other top motivators include financial independence (43%), flexibility (41%), earning potential (36%), better work-family balance (32%), and the power to create their own environment (27%). 

Infographic - top motivators for women when starting a business

The same report found that 79% of female entrepreneurs in the US feel more empowered today than they did five years ago. This could be one reason women feel confident enough to pursue a business in their area of passion.

Who Are Female Business Owners?

According to an annual Guidant Small Business Trends report, the vast majority of women business owners come from Gen X (born 1965-1980) at 68.9%. Meanwhile, 19.42% are Baby Boomers (1946-1964), 10.68% are Millennials (1981-1996), and 1% are Post War (1926-1945).

Pie chart - female business owners by generation

Female business owners also tend to be younger than their male cohorts. According to the Guidant report, the average business owner (male or female) was equally likely to belong to either the Baby Boomer generation or Gen X. In comparison, women business owners are 23% more likely to be part of Gen X than male business owners.

Since women entrepreneurs tend to be younger than their male counterparts, you might think that, as older generations retire, more women will own businesses than men. However, the numbers don’t support that idea. 

When we look at business owners by generational cohort, we find that women are still the minority – they make up just 25.72% of all Gen X business owners and 26.19% of all Millennial business owners. Interestingly, when compared to Boomer entrepreneurs, Millennial entrepreneurs are 22% more likely to be female.

Infographic - the average female business owner

Generations aside, we do have some data on who the average female business owner is. According to a 2019 study, she is 42 years old, has a household income of $110,000 or more, and has been in business for 11 years.

Female business owners are also generally content – 73.68% of women small business owners report being either somewhat or very happy. Meanwhile, 8.77% say they feel neutral, and 17% report being somewhat or very unhappy.

Pie chart - most female business owners are happy

Women in Business Around the World

Female entrepreneurship is by no means unique to the US. In fact, it’s more common in some other countries. For example, 50% of small, medium, and large businesses in Latin America and the Caribbean have at least one woman as one of their principal owners. Let’s take a look at the trends of women in business on a global scale.

Infographic - women-owned businesses by continent

The Current State of Global Female Entrepreneurship 

According to The World Bank, women own about one in three businesses worldwide. Women are also more likely to have small businesses and microbusinesses. Microbusinesses are those that have fewer than 10 employees. 

According to a 2021 fact sheet from the US Small Business Administration, 90% of all women-owned firms have no employees. Even those that are able to employ others remain relatively small – over 50% have just 1 to 4 employees. 

A study of 2.3 million UK-based microbusinesses found that women run close to 40% of microbusinesses as of 2022. That’s up from 32% in early 2020. So, while ownership amongst women is growing, it appears that their businesses aren’t necessarily expanding. 

Pie chart - microbusiness ownership in the UK

Still, it’s important to keep in mind that the majority of businesses worldwide – male or female owned – are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Experts estimate that there are about 400 million small businesses, and they make up 90% of all global businesses.

There are currently 8 to 10 million small to medium-sized businesses with at least one female owner in developing nations. According to The World Bank’s Female Entrepreneurship Resource Point, women in developing economies face a lack of access to finance, which inhibits their business growth. They must also deal with legal inequalities, like restrictions on their ability to manage or own property.

Aside from the agricultural sector, nearly a third of women globally are self-employed with informal work. This includes home-based, small-scale work in focused sectors, like service and retail.

Statistics by Country and Region

Infographic - percentage of women in business by continent

The percentage of women in business can vary drastically from country to country. Patterns become especially clear when we compare regions. For example, globally, 34% of all small, medium, and large firms have a woman as a principal owner. However, the numbers look very different by region: 

  • South Asia: 18%
  • Middle East and North Africa: 23%
  • Sub-Saharan Africa: 29%
  • Europe and Central Asia: 33%
  • East Asia and Pacific: 47%
  • Latin America and the Caribbean: 50%

China is, perhaps, one of the most impressive countries for women in business. There, women have a 61% rate of labor force participation. For reference, the US sits at 55%, and the world averages 46%. Two-thirds of the world’s self-made female billionaires now reside in China according to a 2021 report.

Interestingly, European countries have low numbers of female entrepreneurs. In a study of 43 countries from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, researchers found that just 0.9% of Italian adult women engaged in entrepreneurial activity. That number is just 2.4% in Poland and 4.4% in Germany. 

Infographic - countries where female entrepreneurs are most and least common

Necessity-Driven and Innovation-Driven Entrepreneurship

Though there are many reasons that people become entrepreneurs, some researchers break them into two main groups: necessity-driven and innovation-driven entrepreneurship. Necessity-driven entrepreneurship is generally the result of a lack of formal employment opportunities. 

Meanwhile, innovation-driven entrepreneurs focus on bringing new products or services to the market where there is a high potential for growth and competitive advantage. These entrepreneurs are more common in well-developed countries with strong formal job markets.

Developing nations tend to have less formal job markets, so necessity-driven entrepreneurship is high. Likewise, developed nations have booming employment markets and see more innovation-driven entrepreneurship. While this is true, research also shows that the rate of female entrepreneurship can vary widely within each type of market.

To dig into this concept, let’s consider Egypt, Morocco, and Angola. While these countries have varying economies, they are all considered developing countries by most standards – or, at the very least, they display many characteristics of developing countries. You might think that they all have a higher level of entrepreneurship due to necessity, as developing countries have less developed job markets.

Infographic - entrepreneurship amongst women in developing countries

Yet, research shows a wide range of female entrepreneurship. In Angola, over 50% of adult women are entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, that number is just 4.5% in Morocco and 5.4% in Egypt. It’s more common for men to be entrepreneurs in these countries – 10% in Egypt and 17% in Morocco.

Meanwhile, as we’ve discussed above, European countries with plenty of job opportunities and chances for innovation have low overall rates of female entrepreneurship. Still, there are developed countries with higher rates of female business owners. For example, 29.1% of adult women in Panama take part in entrepreneurial activities.

Overall, the rate of male entrepreneurs in the majority of developed nations is 50% to 100% higher than female entrepreneurs. Still, there are some countries that offer promising results for equality. In Germany and Spain, there’s less than a 1% difference between female and male rates of entrepreneurship. 

The Economic Impact of Women in Business

There’s no doubt that women-owned businesses have a huge impact on financial and employment markets around the world. Here’s what that looks like.

Women-Owned Companies Employ Millions 

In the US, women-owned businesses employ 9.4 million people. From 2007 to 2018, while employment for all businesses went down by 0.8%, employment by women-owned businesses increased by 21%.

However, as we discussed above, we know that most female-owned businesses are microbusinesses with under 10 employees. In the US, 90% of them have no employees. In the UK, women account for 40% of microbusiness ownership. 

So, while women-owned businesses do employ millions, this is still a small portion of the workforce. In fact, it accounts for just 8% of the total private sector workforce in the US. 

Infographic - employment by women in the US

Still, that number is subject to change. According to a 2021 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report, 30.2% of all women entrepreneurs surveyed said that they expect to hire six or more employees over the next five years – that’s up from 18.7% in 2019. For comparison, 48% of male entrepreneurs said the same.

Women-Owned Businesses Are Worth Trillions

Women-owned businesses in the US generate $1.8 trillion in revenue each year. This revenue accounts for just 4.3% of total revenue in the private sector.

This might be because 44% of women-owned businesses operate in low-growth industries. For example, women-owned businesses account for 96.5% of child day care services, 90% of beauty salons, 87.4% of knitting fabric/apparel, and 86% of home health care services.

Infographic - percentages of women-owned businesses in different industries

Research also shows that about 70% of registered women-owned SMEs in developing countries are unable to get financial services to build their businesses or are completely shut out by financial institutions. This causes a $300 billion credit deficit each year for these women-owned SMEs.

The absence of funding is just one issue women must deal with. Additionally, they’re more likely to lack knowledge, networks, and the links necessary to higher-value markets in order to further their businesses.

Women-Owned and Run Startups

Many women start and own small businesses, but a smaller portion take part in startups. Startups and small businesses are similar, with a couple of big differences. Startups aim to grow quickly. To fuel that growth, they need much more capital than a regular business. Here’s how women are showing up in startups and as founders.

Women as Entrepreneurs and Founders

According to Statista, 28% of US startups have at least one female founder. Although that number seems low, things are improving. The same statistic sat at just 19% in 2017. In comparison, 20% of startups worldwide have at least one female founder. Women are also involved in startups without actually creating them – 14% of US startups have a woman for a CEO. 

Bar chart - number of US startups with al least one female founder, by year

As of 2020, Eastern and Central Europe have the largest number of female founders of tech startups in Europe, with 919 female founders reported. The Mediterranean region has 601, and the Nordic-Baltic region has 557. Meanwhile, non-European Union regions of Europe had a total of 219 female founders. 

In Poland, 24.6% of all startups have at least one female founder. Similarly, in Africa and the Middle East, 25.5% of pre-seed startup founders are women. Meanwhile, research finds that 17.8% of blockchain startup shareholders in Brazil are women.

In the Asia-Pacific region, female founders are even more common. In fact, there’s just a 1.5% gender gap between founders in China and a 4.5% gender gap in Japan.

Funding Women-Owned Startups

Women-led companies use two-thirds less capital during the startup phase of business creation than male-led companies. And, of all venture capital backing since 2016, women have received just 4.4%. 

According to a BCG survey, this may be because women tend to start businesses in fields they already have experience in – like childcare and health care. Female startup owners note that when they go to male investors for funding, men with less experience in these areas sometimes don’t understand the value of these ideas or industries. 

This may also relate to social class. Entrepreneurs sometimes pitch services or products meant for people at low socioeconomic levels. Since typical investors aren’t near these lower-class levels, they have a harder time understanding the value of these products, which makes them less likely to offer funding.

Infographic - share of women-owned and all employer firms in top 10 sectors in 2018

It’s also important to highlight the lack of funding for women of color who are forming startups. As we discussed above, startups need lots of capital to grow at an accelerated pace. In 2021, only 40 Black women in the US were able to raise over $1 million for their startup ventures. To support this claim, other research from Crunchbase shows that Black women tend to raise smaller amounts of capital during funding rounds.

Additionally, from January to July of 2021, Black women startup founders received 0.34% of all venture capital spent in the US. Still, there is evidence that funding for startups led by Black women is growing. Startups with at least one Black woman founder raised $494 million in 2021 as of a July report, which surpassed the record high of $484 million raised in the entire year of 2018.

This is a promising improvement, considering that Black women-led companies received just $52 million in funding back in 2016. In fact, the numbers are increasing, though with some hiccups. Black women received $157 million in 2017, which skyrocketed to $484 million in 2018, then fell back to $283 million in 2019 and $287 million in 2020.

 Bar chart - funding for Black women-led companies is on the rise

Additionally, research shows that 40.5% of all the funding that went to Black founders in 2020 went to Black women. We’re getting closer to closing that gender gap. 

Women of Color in Business

Women of color make up a significant portion of the population – 20.3% of the entire US population as of 2019. They also face challenges that are unique to them, so it’s important to highlight their role in business as separate from all women.

Who Are the Women of Color in Business?

In the US, women of color accounted for about 50% of all women-owned businesses in 2019. Of the 12.9 million businesses owned by women in 2019, Black women own 21%. Latina women own 18%, Asian women own 9%, Native American women own 1.4%, and Pacific Islander women own 0.3%. 

Pie chart - women-owned businesses in the US

Black women-owned businesses are growing faster than any other group in the US. Between 2014 and 2019, they experienced an annual growth rate of 8%. However, from 2018 to 2019 alone, they grew by 12%. 

Minorities are also flourishing in other countries, even despite the pandemic. In the UK, the number of Asian entrepreneurs went from 10.1% pre-pandemic to 11.9% in 2022, and Black founders increased from 5.4% to 6.6%.

The Economic Impact of Minority Women-Owned Businesses

As of 2019, women of color own about half of all women-owned businesses, yet their earnings only account for about 23% of the total revenue brought in by all female-owned businesses in the US. To be exact, minority women-owned businesses in the US earned $422.5 billion in revenue. 

Infographic - US businesses owned by women of color

We can drill down into these numbers even further. A 2019 report found that minority-owned businesses earned an average of $65,800. Non-minority women-owned businesses earned an average of $218,800. 

According to the same report, an estimated 6.4 million woman-of-color-owned businesses employ 2,389,500 people. That’s about 25% of all employment by women-owned businesses. 

So, although women of color make up half of the women-owned businesses, they only employ a quarter of the people who have jobs via a woman-owned business. That’s not to say that this is at any fault of women of color. There are many possible reasons for this, such as a lack of funding and the number of years they’ve been in business. 

Minority-Owned Businesses Are Growing in the US

As we discussed above, there is quite a sizable gap in earnings between minority and non-minority-owned businesses. However, one possible explanation for this issue could be the recent growth in minority-owned businesses. 

Infographic - minority women-owned firms

In recent years, we’ve seen surges of new or younger minority-owned businesses entering the market, impacting the revenue figures. Between 2014 and 2019, the number of minority women-owned firms grew by 7%. 

In comparison, during that same period, the number of all women-owned businesses grew by just 3.9%. That means that minority women-owned firms grew at almost double the rate of all women-owned businesses.

Growth has been particularly exceptional in recent years. From 2018 to 2019, all women-owned businesses increased by 5%, while women-of-color-owned businesses grew by 10%. Again, women of color are doubling the growth rate of all women-owned businesses.

Black women-owned businesses, in particular, are experiencing intense growth. In 2019, they had a growth rate of 12% compared to just 8% in the five years prior. They also have the biggest portion of female-owned businesses compared to other minorities at 21%.

Black women experience the biggest disparity in revenue compared to all women-owned businesses than any other minority. Black women-owned businesses earn an average revenue of $24,000 compared to $142,900 for all women-owned businesses, according to an American Express report.

This presents a great opportunity for growth. If the average revenue of minority-owned businesses matched the revenue of white women-owned firms, we would add $981 billion in revenue to the economy and four million jobs.

Infographic - closing the revenue gap between white women and minority women

So, while it is excellent that the number of minority women-owned businesses is growing, it‘s possible that we could better support their growth to ensure that their earnings match those of white women-owned businesses. There are several ways we may do this.

As we discussed above in terms of startups, it’s well documented that Black women get less funding than white women, and certainly less than all entrepreneurs combined. It’s also possible that mentorship programs can help enable their growth. 

For example, 97.5% of businesses owned by Black women who joined an accelerator program from 1863 Ventures survived the pandemic. Plus, half of those businesses added 2,000 jobs to the economy during the first 6 months of the pandemic. Not only did they survive – they were arguably thriving as they needed to hire help to meet demand. 

It is possible that if more programs like this existed, where women not only get support from experts but also connections to a network they may not otherwise have access to, we could better support Black female-owned businesses to close the gap in revenue. 

Women vs. Men in Business

Comparing women’s success to men’s success in business is a major guidepost to understanding how equal the world of business really is. Since women have historically earned less and owned fewer businesses, changes in these metrics matter. 

Interestingly, women are now slightly more likely (3%) to start their own businesses than men, according to SCORE’s 2018 data report on women entrepreneurs. Here’s how the rest of the metrics line up.

Women-Owned Businesses Earn and Pay Less

In 2018, women-owned businesses earned an average of $1.6 million in sales, revenue, or shipments according to the US census. Male-owned businesses earned double at $3.2 million. In that year, women-owned businesses accounted for 19.9% of all firms.

In 2018, women-owned firms had an annual payroll of $388.1 billion. Still, employees of women-owned businesses also earn less than the average workers of all firms. They earn $38,238 per year on average compared to $54,114 for the national earnings average of all workers.

Men Are More Likely to Seek Financing Than Women

One possible reason that women earn less than their male counterparts? Funding. 34% of men pursue financing for their business, compared to just 25% of women. In 2016, just 28% of Fundera applicants were women, and the remaining 72% were men. Not only are men more likely to pursue financing, but they’re also more likely to obtain loans and equity financing than women.

Pie chart - funding applications with Fundera, women vs. men

Plus, men ask for more funding when getting a loan than women. According to data collected by Fundera, men ask for $109,600 on average, while women request an average of $77,000. That’s a difference of almost $33,000.

As you might expect, women also tend to receive smaller loans than men. On average, men get loans of $43,916 while women get loans of $38,942. It’s possible that this is because women ask for less, but it could be because investors tend to provide less funding to women, as well.

Infographic - average loan amounts, women vs. men

Still, there is some common ground between the genders. Men and women tend to seek financing for the same reasons – to start or grow their businesses. However, men are more likely than women to pursue financing to aid when launching a product: 26% of men compared to 22% of women.

Most Women Self-Fund Their Businesses

If only 25% of women sought out financing as we learned above, how do female-owned businesses get started in the first place? Here’s the breakdown of how women get funding for their businesses, according to the 2019 VISA State of Female Entrepreneurship Report:

  • 61% of women self-funded their businesses
  • 10% of female business owners received small business loans
  • 10% got funding from one investor
  • 8% got partial funding from investors
  • 7% received all the funding they requested from several investors
  • 4% didn’t get any funding from investors
Pie chart - funding for female business owners

A whopping 73% of women report finding it difficult to obtain funding. This may be the reason why so few women seek out funding. Though there isn’t great data to provide a clear explanation, it’s possible that they get discouraged during the loan process and never apply. Or, they may talk with investors only to receive negative feedback. 

Women and Men Choose Different Fields

Men and women also tend to specialize in different fields when it comes to entrepreneurship. Compared to men, women are more likely to start a business in the education (9%) or healthcare sector (10%), while just 5% of men show interest in these fields. 

Meanwhile, men are more likely to start a business in the manufacturing and construction industries. 12% of men show interest in these fields, compared to just 4% of women.

Still, women’s participation in male-dominated fields is growing. For example, in the last decade, the share of named executive positions in the basic materials field has grown from 6% to 14%. And in the industrials sector, women now hold 12% of named executive positions – up from 6% a decade ago.

Infographic - percentage change in women-owned vs all firms for selected sectors

Women have the highest representation in executive positions within the utilities sector, where 21% of leadership is female. The next highest-ranking sector is healthcare, which boasts 16% female leadership. Of course, the remaining percentage of leadership is male, so there’s still plenty of work to do.

As we discussed above, women in the corporate world are also more likely to get high-ranking HR roles than any other executive position. However, there’s also growth in other male-dominated roles. In 2010, women accounted for just 2% of all CEOs – by 2021, that number doubled to 5.5%. 

According to an Equilar analysis, women also make up 47% of CFOs, 41% of treasurers, and 56% of finance vice presidents. So, while men and women may differ in interest in industries, they are getting close to equal in key roles regardless of field.

Another report from the World Economic Forum supports that the number of women’s roles in senior-level positions is growing. It found that the number of women in senior managerial and legislative roles increased by 5.4% from 2021 to 2022. Additionally, the share of women in professional and technical roles increased by 6.7%.

The report includes data from 102 countries around the world. It found that Pakistan had the smallest number of women in senior legislative and managerial roles at 4.5%. In Chad, women make up less than 18% of technical and professional workers. 

Meanwhile, Jamaica had the largest share, with women representing 56.6% of all employees in senior legislative and managerial roles. Women have the highest share of senior roles in Togo – 70.1%. In Rwanda, women make up 41% of professional and technical workers. Even more promising, women make up 70% of that category in Belarus.

Wage and Economic Opportunity Gaps Between Men and Women

It’s well known that wage inequality has been an issue since women entered the workforce, but we have seen some increases in closing that gap in recent years. As of 2022, women are earning an average of 2% more than they did the previous year. Interestingly, men are actually earning 1.8% less than in 2021.

Infographic - women are earning more than last year

Yet there is still a wage gap. In fact, according to the 2022 Global Gender Gap report from the World Economic Forum, we’ll need another 151 years before we close the global gender gap in both women’s economic opportunity and participation. Researchers base the estimate on our current rate of progress, considering our global average scores over the last 16 years for 102 countries.

This year’s estimate is also more promising than last year, when researchers said we’d need over 260 years to accomplish equality in this area. It’s also important to note that progress hasn’t been consistent. From 2013 to 2017, we actually experienced a negative evolution in economic opportunity for women. However, from 2006 to 2022, we’ve closed the gap by 4.3%. It’s been a slow process, but we are making progress in this area.

Women Have Come Far in Business, but There’s More Work to Do

The data clearly shows that women are making advancements in business around the world. They’re opening more businesses, employing more people, taking on more corporate roles, and closing the wage gap. 

Still, there’s plenty of room for more growth – especially when it comes to creating an even playing field between men and women. Research shows that women pursue and receive less funding for their businesses than men. The average profit and revenue of women-owned businesses have also decreased in recent years. 

Additionally, the country where women reside also plays a big role in their capacity to build a business or join a career field. For example, just 4.5% of women in Morocco are entrepreneurs, while that number skyrockets to over 50% in Angola. Likewise, 4.5% of senior managerial and legislative roles in Pakistan go to women, while women in Jamaica account for 56.6% of these positions.

It’s also important to highlight that we have lots of work to do to improve equality amongst women of all ethnicities. This is especially true for Black women, as their average revenue of $24,000 is extremely low compared to the average of all women-owned businesses of $142,900. 

This is a huge opportunity for the years to come. As we discussed above, we could add four million jobs and $981 billion in revenue to our economy if minority-owned businesses could match the revenue of white-women-owned businesses.

Ultimately, we’re headed in the right direction. Not only are women earning trillions in business, but they’re even more likely to create new businesses than men. While there’s certainly room for growth, the data paints a hopeful picture for a more prosperous future.

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  10. https://fortune.com/2022/08/03/female-ceos-global-500-thyssenkrupp-martina-merz-cvs-karen-lynch/
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  15. https://cdn.advocacy.sba.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/03103255/Small-Business-Facts-Women-Owned-Businesses.pdf
  16. https://uk.godaddy.com/blog/venture-forward-uk-2022/
  17. https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/smefinance
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  19. https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.TLF.CACT.FE.ZS?locations=CN
  20. https://www.scmp.com/news/people-culture/article/3127254/china-now-home-two-thirds-worlds-top-women-billionaires-four
  21. https://www.gemconsortium.org/reports/latest-global-report
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  27. https://news.crunchbase.com/diversity/something-ventured-black-women-founders/
  28. https://www.catalyst.org/research/women-of-color-in-the-united-states/
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  30. https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2021/03/women-business-ownership-in-america-on-rise.html
  31. https://www.score.org/resource/megaphone-main-street-women-entrepreneurs
  32. https://www.fundera.com/blog/2017-spotlight-women-entrepreneurs
  33. https://www.cnbc.com/2022/03/07/the-industries-where-women-are-making-the-most-and-least-c-suite-progress.html
  34. https://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GGGR_2022.pdf

FAQs

What percentage of small businesses in the United States are owned by women?

As of 2021, approximately 42% of small businesses in the United States are owned by women.

What industries do women-owned small businesses tend to be concentrated in?

Women-owned small businesses are often concentrated in the fields of health care, education, and social assistance. However, they can be found in a variety of industries.

How do women-owned small businesses compare to those owned by men in terms of revenue and employment?

On average, women-owned small businesses generate less revenue and employ fewer people than those owned by men. However, it also notes that the gap is narrowing, with women-owned businesses experiencing faster growth in recent years.

What challenges do women-owned small businesses face?

Women-owned small businesses may face challenges such as limited access to capital and networking opportunities, as well as the added responsibilities of balancing work and home life. However, resources such as business development organizations and mentorship programs can help women overcome these challenges and succeed in their businesses.

Meet the author
Ginny Dorn
Ginny Dorn is a finance and business copywriter specializing in credit card processing and fintech. She graduated from Western Illinois University with a bachelor's degree in family and consumer sciences.

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