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The Evolution of the Businesswoman

14 Mar 2022 3:35 PM | Lauren Peretich

The Evolution of the Businesswoman (cozzalaw.com)

The 21st century has seen an increase in women entrepreneurs but getting to this point has not been an easy task.  Female business owners are still plagued with wage and gender discrimination and have fewer opportunities than their male counterparts.  Still, women persist and make major impacts in business, politics, media, and more.  Women are redefining their roles in the modern workforce.

Brief History

Women have historically controlled a few key industries.  In the mid-1850s, women founded and dominated the fields of home economics and social work.  With the successes of women’s movements in the areas of voting rights and personal independence, women gradually became vital to a number of industries including, but not limited to, real estate, technology, and healthcare.  Throughout history, women’s ideas, approaches, and implementation have helped to evolve the business market and improve how people work together.

In the early 1900s, female entrepreneurs became some of the country’s first and most renowned business owners.  During World War II, the percentage of women in the workforce increased nearly 10%.  Women contributed a number of ways, including opening businesses in their homes, repairing planes, and sewing clothes, to name a few.  After the war, some people felt that women should return to the home and allow returning soldiers to take their jobs, but women did not let the end of the war be the end of women in the workforce.  Women continued to enter professional roles as the postwar economic boom was in progress.

From 1980 to 2000, many women were recognized as some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs.  The world was beginning to acknowledge the unmatched power of women who were determined to do big things.  In 1988, Congress passed the long overdue Women’s Business Ownership Act.  The act eliminated antiquated laws that required a husband’s signature on business and bank lending documents.  It also finally allowed female entrepreneurs to apply for government contracts.  The act aided in the success of female entrepreneurs, providing policies and programs to support their business ventures.  The act marked the start of workplace equality among American men and women. 

Recent Years

Over the past twenty years or so, the field of women’s entrepreneurship has been expanding at a rapid pace.  According to the 2017 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, from 1997 to 2017, the number of women-owned businesses grew 114% while the overall national growth rate for all businesses was only 44%.  As of January 2017, there were more than 11.6 million women owned businesses in the U.S. alone.  Today, women-owned businesses in the U.S. provide employment for nearly 9.4 million people and generate more than $1.9 trillion in revenue (2019 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report). 

The Future

Based on Earnest and Young’s women entrepreneurs in India statistics, women’s global income will grow from $13 trillion to $18 trillion in the next five years.  Women have undeniably made an enormous effort to pave their way in the world of entrepreneurship.  Many women are choosing to carve out their own paths in the competitive and unforgiving business industry.  Society is shifting towards a more accepting and diverse work environment.  Overall, the economy benefits when women take on leadership positions and become entrepreneurs.  The impact of women entrepreneurs is incredible, and it is more than likely that it will only continue to grow. 


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