Women-Owned Businesses Were Growing, But What Now?

Illustration for article titled Women-Owned Businesses Were Growing, But What Now?

New census data shows that from 2002-2007, women-owned businesses had the "largest numerical increase...up 1.3 million, to a total of 7.8 million." (Maybe the sexual rejection burden is shifting.) But has the recession undone this progress?

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The Washington Post parses the new numbers:

In the years preceding the recession, the ranks of minority and female entrepreneurs exploded, according to census statistics released Tuesday. By 2007, minorities owned one in five small U.S. businesses, and women owned almost one in three....But even as the statistics were released, they were eclipsed by the recession that started in December 2007, leading economists to wonder whether the downturn will reverse much of the progress.

So far, the only evidence is anecdotal — one Latino advocate speculates based on what he's seen that since minorities and women tend to be last in, they were first out of big companies — leading them to strike out in their own in many cases.

We've all heard about the he-cession or man-cession or whatever you want to call it. If being low-paid relative to their male counterparts turned into a blessing for some women in the workforce, perhaps the relatively small sizes of women-owned businesses — "the average revenues of majority women-owned businesses were still only 27% of the average of majority men-owned businesses" — rendered them more resilient in the face of economic gloom. Then again, they may have been all the more fragile, less likely to have access to credit, less implicit confidence from banks, investors, and customers.... So basically, we'll see. In the meantime, the growth of women-owned businesses in the boom years is a promising development.

Businesses Owned By Minorities, Women Boomed Before Recession, Census Says [Washington Post]

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Related: Why Are Women Owned Companies Smaller Than Men-Owned Companies? [WSJ]
Baltimore Finds Subprime Crisis Snags Women [NYT]

Earlier: Sexual Rejection May Toughen Up Men For Entrepreneurship
Image Via auremar/Shutterstock.

DISCUSSION

SomeAuthorGirl
SomeAuthorGirl

Warning: the observations that follow are purely anecdotal on my part.

Women owned businesses, though they boomed somewhat within the last decade, remain rare enough that the US govt a few years back started discussing legislation to provide a disadvantaged type status to them. Over the course of time, this was largely fought, deflated, and is now looking as though it will have every last tooth taken out of its potential bite (see (fuck wrong link, going to fix!) for some commentary).

It essentially means, we're going to throw women business owners some crumbs, but not enough to actually shake the power structure. God (and Senate!) forbid.

What it says to me is that this piece of the puzzle (the national picture of women business owners) is indicative of a continued effort on the part of the male-dominated establishment to maintain the status quo. Not just in federal contracting, but overall. Underrepresentation in the marketplace and inability to obtain special SBA status (which often is part and parcel with special lending and credit in support of business growth). If you can't get financing you can't do business, and that's the truth.

Women in business have made strides. But frankly the mancession talk, this legislation, and what it all represents? Makes me want to vomit.