This week the U.S. acknowledges Single Working Women. While the earnings gender gap is an ongoing conversation, many women have ditched their 9 – 5 job in favor of starting a business.
Over the past 20 years, women have out-scored men in startups by 150%. In the entrepreneurship sector, single women are at the head of the pack. According to U.S. Labor Department data, single women are becoming entrepreneurs at a faster rate than married women and, surprisingly, men in general.
When women earn about 20% less than men in corporate America, it’s understandable that they’d look for alternative ways to earn money. A report from the Institute of Women’s Policy Research shows that women are steadily increasing their presence in the world of small business ownership. The number of women-owned firms has grown by 68% since 2007, compared with 47% for all businesses.
But despite the growing number of women who are economically independent, the earnings gap between men and women is still evident partly due to the fact that a large proportion of women work shorter hours or stop working altogether if they become mothers. One of the best ways to combat this is through financial education and upping our collective IQ with financial literacy programs.
This may seem like a small thing, but The Kaufmann Foundation performed a study where women didn’t even recognize themselves as entrepreneurs, but rather “small business owners” which, as they concluded, is not just a vocabulary or semantics issue, but reflective of a much deeper cultural bias.
In recognition of this growing sector of women empowerment, The Women’s Business Development Council recently announced that it had won approval from the United States Treasury for a fund intended to support female-owned business and women entrepreneurs.
With new opportunities being created and financial support being offered to women following entrepreneurial paths, the doors are cracking open to a more balanced scene.
Gone are the days of thinking that a woman-owned business will only target female consumers. Just take a look at Forbes Magazine’s top 10 Women Entrepreneurs list. Names like Oprah Winfrey, Melinda Gates, Arianna Huffington have firmly laid that stereotype to rest.
So, this week we raise a glass to the single working women of America who are taking charge of their financial future.
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