Women-Owned Businesses: What Glass Ceiling?

Newly crunched census statistics show the number of women-owned businesses with $10 million or more in revenue has shot up in the last decade by 56.6 percent. These businesses have increased nearly twice as fast as all women-owned firms and 47 percent faster than firms of the same size owned by men and women.

“This has been happening essentially under our very noses,” says researcher Julie Weeks, who analyzed U.S. Census data for an American Express OPEN report. She estimated such big female-owned firms now total 12,700.

It’s only been since the late 1960s that women have increasingly entered the workforce, says Marsha Firestone, Ph.D., founder and president of the Women Presidents’ Organization. “Today, I see a lot more women really dreaming big. We see women growing businesses more quickly than they did, and they’re in more nontraditional businesses for women.”

“Entrepreneurship is the great equalizer for women,” Firestone says. “At a time when women make an average of 77 cents for every dollar men make, female entrepreneurs can pay themselves as much as they deserve.”

Women’s Work?

Industries with the biggest shares of $10 million-plus female-owned firms:

Wholesale trade: 20%

Finance/insurance: 12%

Transportation/warehousing: 11%

Arts/entertainment/recreation: 10%



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