A new report titled “Tackling the Gender Gap: What Women Entrepreneurs Need to Thrive,” discusses the best ways for female entrepreneurs to succeed in today’s economy. The report is developed by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and looks to track women led companies as well as pinpoint opportunities of growth. According to the report American women “own 11.6 million businesses, 39% of all firms, and start businesses at a rate five times faster than the national average. But they face many obstacles trying to scale those businesses into larger enterprises. As a result, women-owned businesses employ only 8% of the private workforce, generate only 4% of business revenues, and a mere 2% have more than $1 million in revenues.”
While there are many reasons for these issues, the report focuses on three main areas that, if addressed, could have positive impacts for female entrepreneurs almost immediately .
- Increasing positive role models and mentors for girls and women: This should occur not only in the workplace but also in everyday life as women grow both from a personal stand point and when they are looking to start businesses. The more support women received from higher ranking employees, the more likely women will rise in their company / develop a successful business.
- Overcoming the gender pay gap for working women: There are alot of reasons behind the gender pay gap, but societal ‘norms’ along with low female representation plays the largest role. Currently sexual harassment cases are abundant and tell the story of just how hard women have it in terms of workplace mobility and breaking the glass ceiling. In addition to support, company culture is important in an effort to decrease and ultimately eliminate the pay gap among genders.
- Eliminating unequal access to financial capital for women: According to USA Today, “women receive only 2% of venture capital funds”. Establishing a more inclusive and representative investing environment is the first step in helping to grow women owned businesses. It’s hard to give a specific strategy for female funding as 2% is criminally unacceptable, but more women in positions deciding who gets funded is absolutely necessary to improve these numbers.