Blog | Entrepreneurship

What’s Good for Women Is Good for the Economy

Unleash the Wonder Woman inside you and open the doors to financial freedom

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Now, more than ever in our nation’s history, women are making waves by breaking glass ceilings, bridging the gender gap in business, and becoming increasingly entrepreneurial—and we are making our mark in some very important ways, despite some very real challenges.

Right now, just like my book’s title states, It’s Rising Time for women. In fact, economists and academics are now seeing women as an untapped resource that has the power to revive economic expansion. Let’s examine the evidence:

On the Big Screen

This summer, for instance, Wonder Woman ended its fourth weekend in the domestic box office with $318.111 million. And it’s predicted to pass $665 million worldwide cumulative of Jennifer Yuh Nelson’s Kung Fu Panda 2 over the next few days to become the biggest global grosser ever from a solo female filmmaker. When it undoubtedly passes $745 million in the coming weeks, it will become the fourth-biggest DC movie and the most successful DC film that doesn’t feature an appearance by Batman.

While those financials speak volumes about how ready audiences were for a strong female superhero to make her way into a scene previously dominated by dudes in colorful tights, perhaps the real heroine is the woman behind Wonder Woman: Patty Jenkins, who is now the most successful solo female director of all time.

Eight movies are being helmed by women this summer—which strongly indicates that Hollywood may finally be changing its tune about hiring female directors. Similarly, Sofia Coppola’s best director win at the Cannes Film Festival for The Beguiled is the second time in the festival’s 70-year history that a female has taken a directing trophy.

Maybe the film industry desperately needed a woman’s touch for all these years?

In the Boardroom

According to estimates using the latest available data from the U.S. Census Bureau, there were nearly 9 million privately held women-owned firms in the United States in 2012. The rate of growth for women-owned employer firms is three times that of men-owned employer firms and the rate of growth for total women-owned businesses is almost four times the rate of men-owned businesses. Isn’t that remarkable?

Are women pursuing entrepreneurship purely out of necessity? Or because they have a novel idea to share with the world? Or because their career advancement hasn’t kept pace with their talents? It’s difficult to determine which driver prevails, but the numbers speak for themselves: Women are launching 1,200 new businesses per day by innovating and producing products and services that add value or fill gaps in the current marketplace. They are building businesses that are relevant, innovative, and responsive to market demand.

This shift is no small feat, considering female entrepreneurs start companies with 50% less capital than male entrepreneurs, according to Access to Capital by High-Growth Women-Owned Businesses, research commissioned by the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC). Thankfully, increased access to resources and newfound assistance is paving the way for women to enter the marketplace and to build networks to support and sustain their entrepreneurial endeavors. For instance, rewards-based crowdfunding platforms are providing women with new access to capital—Indiegogo reports that women run 42% of its campaigns and women raise more funds than men both in terms of the number of contributions and amount of money. Another avenue women-owned businesses are tapping is traditional loans—lending to women is up to 36% according to the SBA Office of Capital Access. Ladies, the money is there for the taking!

On the Small Screen

The ABC hit show Shark Tank is not only recognizing the potential of women-owned businesses, it’s encouraging women to think differently about their career options. Sharks Lori Greiner and Barbara Corcoran prove that women can become self-made millionaires, even after previous setbacks or failures. “All the best things that happened to me happened after I was rejected,” Corcoran has said. “I knew the power of getting past no.” I couldn’t agree with her sentiments more, after overcoming my own business mistakes and finding my way back after homelessness.

And the male sharks are taking notice, too. “Not some of my returns, all of my returns were coming from companies either owned or run by women,” Kevin O’Leary, a Shark Tank investor, told /a>. Of the 32 companies in his private portfolio, he says 52% are women-run. And his experience is far from a fluke. VC firm First Round Capital found their investments in companies with at least one female founder performed 63% better than their investments in all-male teams.

So for all you Wonder Women out there, the current economic landscape is ripe with possibilities. There is no time like the present for women around the world to take the steps (and risks) necessary to get closer to their financial freedom.

Original publish date: July 13, 2017

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