The Stats About Women in Business and Financing

In today’s business climate, it is important to examine what roles the women who make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce occupy. Here are some figures that will give you a better statistical understanding of women in business in three key areas.


Before looking at the statistical roles women play in American business, we should begin by looking at their usual point of entry into the business world: college education. It may surprise you to learn that it took until 1980 for women to enroll in college in equal numbers to men. Interestingly, in the less-than-forty years since then, women now outpace men in achieving college degrees, and 33% of adult women now have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Business Ownership

There are several interesting angles to explore when examining women in business ownership positions. The bottom line is that while female business owners are far fewer than their male counterparts, there has been a substantial upward trend for women in business ownership positions over the last decade. Between 2006 and 2017, a 45% increase in the number of American women owning firms occurred. Women now own 11.3 million firms in America, representing nearly every industry category.

In contrast, the number of women in business leadershippositions is far less proportionate to the 47 percent of women who make up the U.S workforce. In fact, only 5% of Fortune 500 companies have female CEOS, with only 20 per cent of the population of Fortune 500 boards made up of women. While that may sound negative, it should be noted that those numbers are the result of steady improvement over the course of the last 20 years or so, indicating a gradual trend towards inclusivity.



An important facet of the relatively low proportion of female business owners is funding. Women are less likely to be funded by venture capitalists, due to two major factors. First, a Harvard Business School study found that there is gender bias in the funding and application approval process. In the study, men and women presented the same business proposal to investors. 68% of investors said they would offer funding to the male presenters, and only 39% said they would fund the businesses proposed by women.

The second reason that only 5% of venture capital funding in 2016 went to women is that only 7% of venture capitalists are women, a number that almost mirrors the proportion of funding granted.


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