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Women-Owned Businesses Up 27%

Still a considerable gap to fill As a women entrepreneur, and definitely one with an entrepreneurial spirit, it was encouraging to see the recent preliminary data released by the U.S. Census Bureau that shows U.S. women owned businesses increased by 27.5 percent between 2007 and 2012. Did you know that there are 9.9 million women-owned businesses in the US? That's an increase of 2.1 million businesses (or 27.5 percent from 2007). The data also shows that women-owned businesses increased their receipts by 35 percent, producing $1.6 trillion in sales in 2012 compared to $1.2 trillion in 2007. These preliminary figures show that women owned businesses are moving forward and in a positive direction.

It's been exciting for me the past couple of years to work with more and more businesses where women are the principals or in an executive leadership role. ft has always been a personal goal to support and encourage women who are pursuing their career goals, no matter what those are. It's especially rewarding to watch women move into leadership roles, offering a level of diversity in thinking and direction some industries have not seen before. Other facts to consider*:

• Women are 50.8 percent of the U.S. population.

• They earn almost 60 percent of undergraduate degrees, and 60 percent of all master's degrees.

• They earn 47 percent of all law degrees, and 48 percent of all medical degrees.

• They earn more than 44 percent of master's degrees in business and management, including 37 percent of MBAs.

• They are 47 percent of the U.S. labor force, and 59 percent of the college-educated, entry-level workforce.

It's clear that women have what it takes to prepare for leadership roles; however, the United States still lags behind in creating opportunities for women to use their knowledge and experience at an executive level. As a result, women continue to create their own opportunities by starting and growing their own successful businesses.

The Global Stage:

• We're number six in women's economic participation and opportunity on the World Economic Forum's 2013 Gender Gap Index of 136 countries (not too shabby, but still room for improvement).

• The United States currently ranks 6oth in women's political empowerment on the Gender Gap Index. It will likely take until the end of the century for the U.S. to reach a level of 40 percent legislative participation by women. Finland, Iceland and Norway have already reached or surpassed the 40 percent threshold.

*Information compiled by the Center for American Progress

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