With the support of American Express OPEN, Womenable has reported on trends in the growth and development of women-owned enterprises, drawing upon detailed information from the U.S. Census Bureau, since 2011.
In our inaugural report, The American Express OPEN State of Women-Owned Businesses Report: A Summary of Important Trends, 1997-2011, we provided up-to-date estimates on the number, employment and revenues of women-owned firms, and shared the insight that – despite above-average growth in the number of firms – women-owned businesses were not progressing up the business size continuum.
Our 2012 report, The State of Women-Owned Businesses Report: A Summary of Important Trends, 1997-2012, again provided up-to-date estimates of the number and growth of women-owned firms, and took a more detailed look at the economic clout of women-owned firms regionally and within industry – finding that women-owned firms in two industries (construction and transportation) were standing toe-to-toe with their industry peers with respect to the share generating $500,000+ in revenues.
With our most recent installment in the series, The 2013 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report: A Summary of Important Trends, 1997-2013, we again provide women business owners and their associations, supporters of women’s business development and other stakeholders with the most comprehensive review and analysis of the current health and well-being of women-owned firms in the United States – as well as in all 50 states and the 25 most populous metropolitan areas. Further, the report expands its focus this year to look at the phenomenal growth of firms owned by women of color.
Among this year’s key findings are:
- As of 2013, it is estimated that there are over 8.6 million women-owned businesses in the United States, generating over $1.3 trillion in revenues and employing nearly 7.8 million people. The growth in the number, revenues and employment of women-owned firms over the past 16 years exceeds the growth rates of all but the very largest, publicly-traded corporations in the country;
- Indeed, when looking specifically at the 2007-2013 period – since just before the start of the recent recession – the net increase of 5.3 million jobs economy-wide has come almost entirely from very large public corporations … AND women-owned firms. During the past six years, employment in women-owned and equally-owned firms has fallen;
- The states in which growth in the number, employment and revenues of women-owned firms has been the strongest since 1997 are the District of Columbia, North Dakota, Nevada, Wyoming and Georgia. San Antonio TX, Portland OR, Houston TX, Riverside CA, and Washington DC/MD/VA are the fastest-growing metro areas for women-owned businesses;
- In 1997, there were just under 1 million (929,445) firms owned by women of color, accounting for one in six (17%) women-owned firms. That number has skyrocketed to an estimated 2,677,700 as of 2013, and now comprises one in three (31%) women-owned firms;
- While firms owned by women of color are smaller than non-minority women-owned businesses both in terms of average employment and revenues, their growth in number and economic clout is generally far outpacing that of all women-owned firms. Indeed, the growth in the number of African American (up 258% from 1997 to 2013), Asian American (+156%), Latina (+180%), Native American/ Alaska Native (108%), and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (+216%) women-owned firms all top the growth in the number of non-minority women-owned firms (+32%) over the past 16 years.
You may download and read the complete 71-page report by visiting openforum.com/womensbusinessreport or clicking on the link above. You may also wish to download and read the news release for the report.
Posted in business, entrepreneurship research, women's business ownership, women's enterprise development, women's business research studies, women-owned business | Tagged American Express OPEN, Julie Weeks, statistics, US Census Bureau, women's business development, women's enterprise, women's entrepreneurship, Womenable | Leave a Comment »
A new report recently released by Intel adds to the body of research focusing on gaps in technology availability and usage by gender, adding to the evidence base that access to information technology increases empowerment, education, and economic well-being.
The report, Women and the Web, combines interviews with 2,200 women in four countries (Egypt, India, Mexico, and Uganda) with data from a variety of other sources and shares the following observations:
- Gender barriers to technology are real. On average across the developing world, nearly 25 percent fewer women than men have access to the Internet.
- Bridging the Internet gender gap can boost women’s income and income potential. Across the surveyed countries, nearly half of respondents used the Web to search for and apply for a job, and 30 percent had used the Internet to earn additional income.
- Use of the Internet also increases women’s sense of empowerment. More than 70% of women surveyed who are online say that it is “liberating” and 85% say it “provides more freedom.”
The 104-page report concludes with a series of recommendations for action to bridge the gender technology divide. Read a news release highlighting other findings HERE, and download and read the full report HERE.
Other earlier reports on this topic may also be of interest:
Finally, womenablers may also be interested in the Research Links page of the Anita Borg Institute, which focuses mainly on research on women in technology, but is nonetheless a great resource to bookmark for future reference.
Posted in women and technology, women's business development | Tagged empowering technology, empowering women, Intel, Internet, UN Women, US State Department, women's empowerment | Leave a Comment »
Celebrating women’s empowerment, and voicing protest – the growing power of video messaging
When women get together in many countries around the world, they sing songs of praise and protest. Indeed, song has bound together movements for generations – so why not the women’s movement? We made note of that a few years back, in one of our most popular and forwarded blogposts, “Womenabling Music: uniting cultures and empowering women through song,” and we have also shared historical videos of importance and interest to women’s economic empowerment advocates (such as those highlighted in our 1st quarter e-newsletter from 2011).
This year during Women’s History Month, we again turn our focus on song. First off, we wanted to make sure you get a chance to tap your toes to One Woman, which comes to us from UN Women; proceeds from song downloads will go to their good cause.
Secondly, there was a recent flashmob social media campaign to mark V Day – celebrated primarily as Valentine’s Day, but more recently used to call attention to the appalling fact that one out of three women (fully one billion women) will be the victims of violence during their lifetime. Under the One Billion Rising moniker (I love their tagline: 1 billion women violated is an atrocity; 1 billion women dancing is a revolution), thousands of local groups got together to perform – flashmob style in some cases – to the song “Break the Chain,” written to highlight the issue. Here’s one flashmob example of the performance of the song, from India:
And here’s the video that’s garnered the highest number of views on YouTube (over 172,000), from San Francisco:
Check out others at onebillionrising.org/livestream. And learn more about the song and the choreography HERE. These are just a few examples of the growing power of social media to deploy aural advocacy. Sing out, sisters!
Posted in gender equality, women's leadership | Tagged gender equality, music, women's empowerment, Women's History Month, Womenable | Leave a Comment »
The Womenabler has long been a fan of BBC Radio 4′s Woman’s Hour – we download and listen to many a show on our long womenabling flights around the globe. Last year, Woman’s Hour followed the trials and tribulations of three women entrepreneurs, pairing them up with mentors and discussing their entrepreneurial growth pains at regular intervals during the year. It was fascinating, illuminating and – we would guess – very inspirational for listeners thinking of starting and growing their own businesses.
This year, they’ve set a new high bar – announcing a Power List of the 100 most powerful women in the UK. The build-up to the announcement was interesting to listen to, as they highlighted the advancement – or lack thereof – of women in business, politics, education, science and sport. It was a thoughtful, open process and the list is an interesting mix of the elite and the street-smart. Of course, #1 on the list is Queen Elizabeth, and many of the others in the ranked top-twenty lists are Dames and Right Honorables (position defines clout, in the UK and elsewhere). However, the list also includes such built-it-not-born-into-it women as singer Adele, noted architect Zaha Hadid, author JK Rowling, and a variety of women in sport, business, politics and civil society.
It’s a wonderful mix of women from a variety of walks of life, and generations, but some have commented that it’s not a very ethnically diverse list and that there were political and face-saving motivations for embarking upon this quest. But then, the halls of power are still relatively homogenous. By our eye, this women’s power list is much more diverse on so many levels than a gender-blind power list would be. And, whatever the motivations may have been, it’s a wonderful window on the world of women’s influence in the United Kingdom, a good conversation-starter about who may be missing from the list, and a feather in the cap of a fine radio program that, in our view, deserves more than a moment in the spotlight.
Check out the Woman’s Hour Power List, the stories behind how the list was chosen, and some of the commentary following the announcement of the list – including the chagrin of some that the Duchess of Cambridge was not included in the list.
Well done, Woman’s Hour!
Posted in international gender rankings, women in the news, women's enterprise development, women's leadership, women's political leadership | Tagged empowering women, leading women in the world, top ten list, United Kingdom, women's empowerment, Womenable | Leave a Comment »
Leaning in: It began, perhaps, with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s December 2010 TEDWomen talk on why there are so few women leaders (which has now garnered 2.1 million views on TED.com and YouTube). Her ideas were further refined in her May 2011 commencement speech at Barnard College, and have now been expanded and formalized into a new book, Lean in: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, which is – in true social media fashion – feeding into the launch of a web-based community, leanin.org.
All of these missives revolve around Sandberg’s view that too many women shy away from stepping up to the plate at the workplace, muffling their own ambitions and thereby short-changing their careers. On the face of it, not too controversial, but my, oh my what a firestorm of responses her views have sparked! Womenable pointed to the juxtaposition of the TEDWomen talk and Anne-Marie Slaughter’s counterpoint piece in the July/August 2012 issue of the Atlantic, Why Women Still Can’t Have it All, as one of the top womenabling news and events of 2012.
The well-orchestrated March 11th publication of Sandberg’s book has been met with a firestorm of commentary, however, not all of it positive. Here’s just a selection of related op-eds and direct commentary and coverage:
- An op-ed in the New York Times by former Lehman Brothers CFO Erin Callan entitled, “Is There Life After Work?,” on the perils of leaning in all the way;
- Selected reviews of the book, including: “Do As I Do, Not as I Say” in the Wall Street Journal, a cut-to-the-quick review in the UK’s The Guardian, and a review of the reviews on allvoices.com;
- “Waiting for Superwoman” in Bloomberg Businessweek (longer article in the print magazine);
- Commentary in the Wall Street Journal, “The Real Women’s Issue: Time,” subtitled “Never mind leaning in. To get more working women into senior roles, companies need to rethink the clock”
- A TIME cover story on Sandberg, “Don’t Hate Her Because She’s Successful“;
- a counterpoint to the TIME cover story on ForbesWoman, “Tip to TIME: Women Don’t ‘Hate’ Sheryl Sandberg Because She’s Successful“; and
- Sandberg’s reaction to all of the controversy in an AP story, and an interview with her in Harvard Business Review.
What is our view on all of this? Well, we have a few thoughts and reactions to this recent firestorm:
- This is a very western, industrialized economy conversation. In nearly 3/4 of countries around the world (specifically 141 economies investigated by the World Bank in their Women, Business and the Law report), women are at a legal disadvantage compared to men in one or more areas – so no matter how hard they lean in, they may not achieve equality of opportunity;
- The “lean in” exhortation ignores the double standard to which many women in the workplace are held. Frequently, exhibiting ambition and leaning in are met with resistance, undercutting, and being labeled a “rhymes with witch;” and
- This discussion is very much taking place in a corporate environment. In particular, it ignores the fact that many women (perhaps after leaning in to no avail) are taking their futures in their own hands, and are starting their own businesses. (Of course, in our entrepreneurial world, there is a similar conversation about why more women business owners are not scaling the heights of entrepreneurial success.)
All that said, of course, what may be the most important point is that, by circling our feminist wagons and shooting down a message and point of view from an important and visible woman business leader, we may damage our collective cause. After all, as pointedly observed by former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright, “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”
So here’s what we say: all views are welcome, and many strategies are needed. We not only need to lean in, we need to push back, raise voices, change laws and change minds to advance the cause of equality of opportunity for all.
Posted in business, gender equality, women in the news, women's leadership | Tagged gender equality, Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg, women's empowerment, women's leadership | Leave a Comment »
The 2012 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor was recently unveiled at an event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (ranked 12th in the world on the ease of doing business in the World Bank’s Doing Business rankings).
This is the 14th year for the unique and impactful international effort. Starting in 1999 with 10 countries, the GEM collaboration now includes 69 world economies accounting for 87% of global GDP.
Of special interest to we womenablers, of course, is the ongoing accounting of the continuing gap in the share of adult females starting and growing businesses compared to their male counterparts. In nearly every region of the world, women are less likely to be starting new enterprises or to own established businesses.
The new report, however, indicates that the gender gap in business ownership has virtually disappeared in sub-Saharan Africa. The gap is widest in the Middle East and North Africa, where men are 2.8 times as likely as women to own a business.
Conversely, according to the new report, there are five countries in which entrepreneurship rates among women are actually higher than among men: Ecuador, Ghana, Nigeria, Panama, and Thailand.
To learn more about the report GEM and this latest effort, read the recent news release, visit the GEM website, or download the report.
Finally, check out the series of special reports on women and entrepreneurship, the most recent of which was published in 2011.
Posted in business, entrepreneurship research, women's business ownership | Tagged Babson College, Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, women's entrepreneurship, World Bank | Leave a Comment »
There’s a new report just out that kicks off 2013 with some great news: women-owned firms at the highest level of revenue achievement have been doing even better than we might have imagined. They’ve been growing in number right under our very noses. In fact, the number of women-owned firms with $10 million or more in revenue has increased by 57% over the past decade – a rate fully 47% faster than the growth of all $10M+ businesses, and nearly twice (+98%) the rate of growth of all women-owned firms.
These startling new facts are from Growing Under the Radar: An Exploration of the Achievements of Million-Dollar Women-Owned Firms, a new report authored by Womenable and commissioned by American Express OPEN.
How could this have been happening, largely undetected, under our very noses? Well, the “million dollar bucket” is a diverse one – containing both relatively small $1 million privately-held firms and multi-billion dollar publicly traded corporations. And, since this population contains just 2% of women-owned firms and 5% of all firms, it’s the largest sales category published by the Census Bureau. Now, for the first time, Womenable was able to obtain previously unpublished data from our friends at the Economic Statistics Branch of the Census Bureau (mwah!) – and the information is gratifying:
- Between 2002 and 2012, the number of majority women-owned firms with $10 million or more in revenues increased from 8,110 to 12,700 – a 56.6% increase. During that same time period, the number of women-owned firms with $1 million or more in revenues grew from 116,985 to 152,900 – a 30.7% increase. Thus, the growth in the number of $10M+ women-owned firms exceeds the growth of all $1M+ women-owned firms by 84%.
- Comparing growth rates among the firms of highest achievement finds women-owned firms again surpassing average growth by a large margin. The growth in the number of $10M+ women-owned firms (56.6%) surpasses the growth in the number of all $10M+ businesses (38.4%) by fully 47%.
- The share of firms reaching this rarified atmosphere remains small. Within the population of million-dollar firms, 75% have $1-$4.9 million, 12% have $5-$9.9 million, and 13% have $10 million or more in revenues. Among million-dollar women-owned firms, 82% have $1-4.9M, 10% have $5-9.9M, and 8% have $10M+ in revenues.
- Some industries are more scalable than others. Looking within the population of million-dollar women-owned firms finds that women-owned firms in wholesale trade have achieved the highest level of firm revenues. Fully 20% of the million-dollar women-owned firms in this industry have topped the $10 million mark, well above the 8% seen among all million-dollar women-owned firms. Women-owned firms in three other industries have also exceeded the 8% national average: finance and insurance, in which 12% of million-dollar women-owned firms have achieved $10M+ in revenues; transportation/warehousing, in which 11% have passed the $10M mark; and arts/entertainment/recreation, in which 10% have done the same.
And, perhaps most importantly, why has this been happening? In our view, growth at the upper reaches of business achievement is not only a logical next step in the continued overall growth at rates exceeding the national average, there is now much more support for these mountain-climbing women – such as The Committee of 200 and the Women Presidents’ Organization. Higher achieving women are now getting more visibility and recognition. While it’s still not always good (strong, successful women still referred to in less-than-flattering, rhymes-with-witch terms), greater visibility provides more role models for young women, more of whom may be dreaming bigger because of the achievements of these high-flying women.
The news coverage of this exciting new report was kicked off late last week by an article in Meghan Casserly’s Girl Friday column for ForbesWoman, “Women In (Big) Business: How XX-Driven $10 Million Plus Firms Could Take The Lead.” More are sure to follow, as we’ve been chatting with a number of reporters.
In the meantime, fellow womenablers, read the report, applaud our achievements, and start spreading the news!
Posted in high growth entrepreneurship, women business owners, women's business ownership, women's business research studies, women-owned business | Tagged American Express OPEN, ForbesWoman, Meghan Casserly, statistics, The Committee of 200, US Census Bureau, Women Presidents' Organization, women's entrepreneurship, women-owned business, Womenable | 4 Comments »