Entrepreneurs in a break-out session on scaling their businesses at the Million Dollar Women Summit in New York City
Year of the Woman? Not in our Wallets.
What a year. Women are speaking out, speaking up and circling up like never before. All of a sudden women’s issues are everyone’s issues. Upward of 120 women won seats in the midterm elections, resulting in 2018 being called the “Year of the Woman.” But are we really victorious? Not in one of the places that matters most – in our wallets.
Women still earn significantly less than men, and that story hasn’t changed in more than two decades. On average, women are paid 79 cents for every $1 dollar a man is paid. I grew up when it was 77 cents on the dollar. Really, we are only 2 cents better off? For women of color and for mothers in the workforce, there is an even wider chasm. At this rate, economists predict the gender wage gap in the U.S. will be with us another 40 years or more. So I am not celebrating yet. Women earning less means many can’t make some of the most fundamental choices about their lives, such as where to live, what career to pursue, where to send their kids to school, who to love or marry and when to leave if it’s not working.
One of the fastest ways to close America’s financial gender gap is to support women entrepreneurs. When women start their own business, they leave behind the glass ceiling and climb the entrepreneurial mountain. Business owners who make it at least to base camp can pay themselves and their often majority-female-staffs fair wages — and give colleagues ways to get ahead that don’t require demeaning encounters with male bosses.
Women know entrepreneurship is the ticket. They are starting businesses at twice the rate that men are and 1 in 10 women graduating college says she she wants to be an entrepreneur. Yet, of the 11 million women business-owners in the U.S., very few are building profitable, scalable, fundable businesses. It’s not because they don’t have the drive or competence.
Many women business owners lack access to the capital, mentors and business tools to scale up — due to not having gone to business school or living in rural areas where they don’t have easy access to biz programs, role models and accelerators. Of the estimated 11 million women running small businesses in the U.S., fewer than 3% ever reach $1M in revenues, and fewer than 1% of women of color. More than twice as many businesses run by men reach that million-dollar mark.
Women entrepreneurs are one of the greatest under-leveraged assets we have in the United States. There is so much untapped potential. Time is up on that too.
At Million Dollar Women, we are helping one million women reach $1M in revenues through our online business programs and summits for high growth women entrepreneurs. Our nonprofit arm, Women Who Dare, is supporting women of color entrepreneurs (whose average revenues are $25,000 – $50,000) by connecting them to the right capital, community and business tools to scale up.
When one million women reach one million in revenues, we will add $1.6 trillion to the GDP and create more than five million new jobs. Along with other women’s business organizations such as Ellevate, Pipeline Angels, Change the Ratio, NAWBO and Female Equity and the corporations, foundations and individuals that believe in leveling the playing field and are supporting our movements, we are creating new frameworks and providing tools, role models and access to capital to ambitious women. The women in our programs might otherwise stay stuck at $100k or $200k in revenues, or worse, shut down their businesses and go back to 79 cents.
We can all help close the gap. Here are THREE THINGS you can do right now to make this “Year of the Woman” an economic victory for women too:
1. Support women entrepreneurs in every way you can – buy from them, hire them, refer them, promote them, purchase holiday gifts from them, cheer them on and share fundraising resources to help boost their success (click here for a complete list of female-friendly funders and accelerators).
2. Join our movement at Million Dollar Women/Women Who Dare to help more women entrepreneurs succeed by entering your email here and refer ambitious women to our programs.
3. Consider investing in women entrepreneurs via online fundraising platforms such as Plum Alley, IndieGoGo, iFundWomen and Circle Up and support the organizations working for gender financial equality.
Our mission is to get one million more women making one million in revenues. This is achievable. If the recent midterms proved anything, it’s that we should never underestimate what a country of women who are mad can make make happen!
Together we will help one million women create fundable, profitable companies and then we will not only be able to elect more women who represent our interests, we will help future generations build thriving companies that create more jobs for women, men, youth, working parents, and non gender binary professionals who value working in a gender equal workplace. I’ll be buying the first round then!