Celebrating Women’s History Month and Women’s Business Development

 March is Women’s History Month. The importance of celebrating women’s history was well stated in the March 2 Presidential Proclamation.

 “Countless women have steered the course of our history, and their stories are ones of steadfast determination. From reaching for the ballot box to breaking barriers on athletic fields and battlefields, American women have stood resolute in the face of adversity and overcome obstacles to realize their full measure of success.”

Women’s history is a story of women’s strength. The success of women entrepreneurs significantly expands women’s role in creating wealth, prosperity, and well-being for the nation in the 21st century. Over the past half century, women have made substantial gains in their social and economic status as they sought economic equality and independence. However, women business owners, as a group, are under economic pressure in entrepreneurial endeavors not only because of their gender but also because of their businesses’ size. The number of women-owned firms has increased by 20.1 percent since 2002. However, the share of total business revenues has declined for the smaller firms whose ownership is identifiable by gender. That is, publicly held firms hold a larger and larger share of gross business receipts. Women-owned firms’ share of receipts declined from 4.2 percent in 2002 to 3.9 percent in 2007. As women-owned businesses increase in number, they will increasingly face the same challenges as businesses owned by men.

To learn more about women-owned businesses see these Office of Advocacy’s publications: Owner Demographic Economic Research,  and Women-owned Business Economic Research, and the U.S. Census Bureau’s Women-Owned Firms: 2007.

 —Ying Lowrey
Senior Economist