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The rise of women in business, driven by education: 10 million women-owned firms contributed with $1.4 trillion per year to the US economy

The increasing access to education for US women allowed them to evolve in their careers over the years. Now, they have more important functions, earn more, reducing the gap compared to men, and lead 10 million companies, which contributed with 1.4 trillion per year to the US economy.

As the Women’s History Month is coming, EvoNews collected data from the U.S. Census Bureau to present the main figures that have marked the evolution of women in the business environment. Women are celebrated worldwide on March 8, on International Women’s Day.

„The roots of National Women’s History Month go back to March 8, 1857, when women from various New York City factories staged a protest over working conditions. International Women’s Day was first observed in 1909, but it was not until 1981 that Congress established National Women’s History Week to be commemorated annually the second week of March. In 1987, Congress expanded the week to a month. Every year since, Congress has passed a resolution for Women’s History Month, and the president has issued a proclamation”, it is mentioned on the U.S. Census Bureau‘s website.

In the United States, the number of females as of July 2015 was 163.2 million, while the number of males was 158.2 million.

Women in business are on the rise

76.1 million of the women, age 16 and older, participated in the civilian labor force in the same year. Thus, they totaled 47.4 percent of the civilian labor force in 2015. Furthermore, 35.8%
of U.S. firms were owned by women in 2012, the estimated number of women-owned firms nationwide reaching 9.9 million in that year, up from 7.8 million or 26.8 percent in 2007. Also, the estimated receipts from women-owned firms in the United States in 2012, grew with 18.7 percent to $1.4 trillion, from $1.2 trillion in 2007.

„They constituted the majority of firms in the health care and social assistance sector (62.5 percent), the educational services sector (54.2 percent) and the “other services” sector (51.8 percent). For comparison, women accounted for 51.4 percent of the 18-and-older population in the United States in 2012”, the U.S. Census Bureau reports.

According to the authorities, 114,103 women-owned firms had paid employees and were in business less than two years in the United States in 2014. The health care and social assistance sector had the most women-owned businesses with 177,127 firms or 16.8 percent.

More women with high level jobs

In 2015, 43.9% of women were life, physical and social science scientists, „the highest percentage of women among all computer, engineering and science occupations”. That year, there were 24.8 percent of computer and mathematical occupations and 14% of architecture and engineering occupations held by women.

In 2012, 63% of women were social scientists, „the heaviest representation of women among all STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields”. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, among other STEM fields, women comprised approximately 14% of engineers, 45% of mathematicians and statisticians, and 47% percent of life scientists. „The rates of mathematicians and statisticians, and life scientists are not statistically different from each other”.

Also, 14.2% of employed women age 16 and older in 2015 worked in management, business and financial occupations, compared with 15.8 percent of employed men in the same year.

In terms of the number of women veterans in the United States, it reached 1.6 million in 2015.

The median annual earnings of women age 15 and older who worked full time, year-round in 2015 was $40,742. In comparison, the median annual earnings of men were $51,212. In other words, the amount that full-time, year-round female workers earned in 2015 for every dollar their male counterparts earned was $0.80.

Yet, there were women who gained more than their husbands. In 2016, in 9.7% of the married couples across the US the wife earned at least $30,000 more than the husband.

The evolution of women’s lifestyle, from education to marriage

In 2015, 12.5 million of women were enrolled in undergraduate college and graduate school. Thus, they comprised 55.4 percent of all college students (undergraduate and graduate).

Moreover, 30.9% of women age 25 and older had obtained a bachelor’s degree or more as of 2015. The percentage of men age 25 and older who had obtained a bachelor’s degree or more as of 2015 was 30.3 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The number of married women age 18 and older (including those who were separated or had an absent spouse) reached 67.4 million in 2016.

The estimated number of mothers ages 15 to 50 in the United States in 2014 was 43.5 million. In 2016, 5 million of them were stay-at-home mothers compared with 209,000 stay-at-home fathers nationwide.

The average number of children that women ages 40 to 44 had given birth to as of 2014 was 2.0, down from 3.1 children in 1976, the year the Census Bureau first began collecting such data. „The percentage of women in this age group who had ever given birth was 84.8 percent in 2014, down from 89.9 percent in 1976”.

Regarding their wish to cast their ballot, women seems to be more responsible, given that 43% of female citizens age 18 and older reported voting in the 2014 election, while only 40.8 percent of their male counterparts reported voting.

Another aspect that indicates the evolution of women’s is the rate of increase in life expectancy. The approximate ratio by which women age 85 and older outnumbered men in 2015 was almost 2 to 1, or 4.1 million to 2.1 million.

Madeline Gorthon