Sophia Amoruso has been awarded many titles throughout her standout career as an American businesswomen. The New York Times has called her the “Cinderella of tech”, Business Insider named Amoruso one of the “sexiest” CEOs alive, and Forbes listed her in 2016 as one of the richest self-made women in the world. Despite all these appraisals, no title carries more weight than being called a Girlboss. According to her “a girlboss is someone who has big dreams and is willing to work hard for them. So being a girlboss is really about being the boss of your own life.”
What’s more inspiring than just Amoruso’s story is the story of the millions of “girlbosses” who are doing exactly what the title suggests– becoming women entrepreneurs.
Based on numbers from 2020, women-owned businesses are on the rise. Between 2014 and 2019, the growth rate of the number of women-owned companies was 3.9% annually, significantly more than the growth rate of all businesses during the same time frame which was only 1.7% per year. This impressive expansion of women in business is an encouraging one. Not only does it mean more economic growth through higher employment and revenue pushed into the economy, but it also marks strides women have made over the years in business. To put things in perspective, in 1972, women-owned businesses only represented 4.6% of all businesses in America. In 2019, they represent 42% of all U.S. businesses.
Now all of this deserves a standing ovation as women have repeatedly been oppressed in business. Broken rungs and glass ceilings in corporate America have led to fewer women advancing in companies and reaching executive positions. However, this is why these women entrepreneurs statistics are so encouraging. No longer are women subjecting themselves to a system stacked against them, and instead empowering themselves to reach new heights on their own by starting a business.
Despite advancements women have made starting their own businesses, it’s not without challenge. In fact, there is still a deep-seeded bias against women throughout the funding process. According to the Kauffman Foundation, investors tend to unconsciously ask different questions based on gender. They are more likely to ask men how will you “win” and more likely to ask women how will you “not lose” when gauging the success of an idea. Women-owned startups also pay higher interest rates and take on more collateral than similar male-owned businesses. All these findings prove that despite an increase in women entrepreneurship, funding remains discriminatory posing an obstacle for many women founders.
This past year, 2020, has been defined by turbulence. The stocks dipped and rose as news of the pandemic developed and deep-seated systems were questioned. Despite (or maybe because of) this turbulence, entrepreneurship is on the rise. In quarantine, Americans have been filing new business applications at the fastest rate since 2007, according to LegalZoom.
Based on the numbers, 2021 is shaping up to be a year marked by ingenuity as we grapple with adversity. And as trends would have it, women are set to be at the forefront of this push given the increase in female entrepreneurship over the past five years.