Discrimination & Business: #WomenRockMoney

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What a great initiative! I didn't know just how badly the odds were stacked against women in business. Definitely pitching in to do my part after this read!

Did you know that as of 2016 there were 11.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States?

True story. Since 2007, the economy at large has only seen an increase of 9% for the establishment of new businesses. But women-owned businesses? Forty-five percent growth.

Businesses run by women have seen a 37% increase in revenue since 2007–ten percentage points higher than the economy at large.

Women aren’t just quietly leaving, establishing new businesses in lieu of being someone else’s employee.

They’re rocking it once they head off on their own.

Women in Big Business

While women are owning the small business sector, it’s a different picture when we look at inclusion in larger sectors. Only 2%-6% of venture capital dollars go to women-owned businesses. And only 8% of venture capital firms have female partners. To top it all off, women-owned businesses are granted only 4% of commercial loans.

Beyond the obvious ridiculousness of this circumstance, it has been proven time and time again that companies with female CEOs or chairmen significantly outperform the broader market. While the world market has seen returns of 11% since 2009, women-led business have seen more than double the growth–25%.

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What the heck is going on?

In a word:


But it would be foolish to think sexism was the only type of oppression at play.

All that growth of women-led small businesses?

Not all of it is for positive reasons. One reason people leave the W-2 grind and head out on their own is unequal pay and marginalization in the workplace. It stands to reason that women would start working for themselves or taking charge and employing others.

This is especially true for black women, who are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in our country. When you consider the added barriers that racism imposes, it’s not surprising that so many women are taking control of their own destiny.

Another form of prejudice that forces women out of these positions is heteronormativity. While office politics are one factor in this oppression, discriminatory state laws play a large role, as well.  From 2005-2014, over one million jobs created by LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs moved to states with inclusive laws and policies for the demographic.

One. Million. Jobs.

What can we do about it?

When you look at these numbers, it’s easy to get discouraged. Angry. Desolate.

But rather than wallowing in that despair, it’s important to recognize that there are things we can do about it if we channel those negative feelings to fuel positive action.

Speak Out

You don’t have to have a huge platform to address systemic oppression. You can address it in your everyday life. When you hear your aunt, co-workers or friends make comments that further reinforce othering, say something about it. Culture changes one opinion at a time.

Stick Up for Each Other

If you have privilege, use it. We’ve seen some high-profile cases of this in Hollywood recently. Perhaps the biggest comes from Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain. When Chastain realized that women of color got paid far less than white women, she tied her co-star–Spencer’s–salary to her own, ensuring equal pay.

8 thoughts on “Discrimination & Business: #WomenRockMoney

  1. Ms ZiYou

    I agree, we all need to be aware and use whatever privilege we have to ask for change.

    And beware the black swan…those who disbelieve as they’ve never seen it.

    1. femmefrugality Post author

      Uck, yes. Those who have never seen it haven’t seen it precisely because they have it. So frustrating.

  2. Mrs. Adventure Rich

    Yes yes and yes. As women, we need to be advocates for ourselves… both on an individual level but also on an “all women” level. Let’s help each other out, mentor our new coworkers, stand up for our worth and make a change. Happy International Women’s Day, FF!!!

  3. Jana @ Jana Says

    When women stick together, they are a force. By advocating and promoting and hiring each other, we are unstoppable. And I love the example of Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain. I remember reading that and loving it for a dozen reasons.

  4. Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early

    It really feels like this is the decade to really turn the tide. Keep speaking up, keep pushing for change. It’s a long heavy ship that’s been headed in one direction for a long long time, but it’s time to right it.


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