The early 2000s have been a prosperous point in time, particularly for women. Despite an ever-persistent wage gap, women-owned businesses are on the rise.
A report commissioned by American Express found that, between 2014 and 2019, the number of women-owned businesses climbed 21 percent to a total of nearly 13 million.
The same report found that businesses owned by Black women represent the highest rate of growth in the number of total women-owned businesses.
Despite the prevalence of workplace sexism over the course of history, more women are starting their own businesses than ever.
Yet, not everything is rose-tinted. Despite the strides that working women have made in the 21st century, women-owned businesses are still in the minority.
According to Third Way, there are still roughly two male entrepreneurs for every one woman entrepreneur in the United States.
The discrepancy between men and women in the world of entrepreneurship is due to a number of factors, such as disparity in education and networking, as well as a lack of access to financial capital.
When Karen Hartman first dreamt of her idea of creating an ethical jewelry store, it was in a manufacturing agency in Shanghai, China where she worked. She paired up with American sculptor, Tomas Wittlesbach, who uses a 3D sculpting technique to make art.
Karen wanted to create a jewelry line that was ethically made and gave back to her community in some capacity. Born was Astor+Orion, a small jewelry line created with recycled metals.
The company was born from Hartman’s belief that women need more space to exist within the entrepreneur industry. Karen also believes in the responsibility businesses have to give back to their communities.
Because women are constantly inspired to use their platforms to do good, Astor+Orion sends a portion of their proceeds to Tomas’s alma mater, the California Institute of the Arts. CalArts uses these funds for their youth-centered, art-focused after-school programs.
"Equity in business would add up to $28 trillion, or 26 percent, to annual global GDP by 2025."
Evidence shows that in “full potential” scenarios — in which women participate in the economy identically to men — equity in business would add up to $28 trillion, or 26 percent, to annual global GDP by 2025.
Other research finds that mixed-gender boards outperform all-male boards and that the Fortune 500 companies with the highest proportion of women on their boards performed significantly better than firms with the lowest proportion, according to a PIIE study.
Creating a diverse workplace has been historically proven to encourage businesses to weed out racism and sexism from their workplace, through training such as anti-racism and anti-sexism workshops.
The benefits of having female representation in positions of power and influence are simply undeniable.
When women are able to break glass ceilings and take on more entrepreneurial roles, it actually makes the world a better place for everyone.
This article originally appeared in The Small Business Edition of the Goodnewspaper — and was supported by PLANOLY.
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