Why Don’t More Women Start Businesses?

Our readers share their thoughts

When you look at the statistics regarding women-owned businesses, it may appear, based solely on the numbers, that women have made progress in this area. If you measured the number of female entrepreneurs today versus the number of female entrepreneurs 20 years ago, you would see a 114% increase. So, the numbers look positive and as if they’re all trending in the right direction.

If you’re looking solely at the numbers, the question of “Why aren’t more women starting businesses?” seems like it’s moot. However, some of the numbers are a bit misleading when you dig a bit deeper.

We asked our readers why they personally think more women aren’t starting businesses. Here are some of their thoughts:

  • “Lack of emotional support from family and friends. Not enough cheerleaders to let them know they are capable and doing great.” — Jane Swanzy, Swan Marketing
  • “Lack of time. If you are the chief cook, bottle washer, calendar organizer, chauffeur, laundry maid, broken thing fixer, and Jill of all things, you rarely have more than five or 10 minutes to yourself. There is always some minor or major catastrophe to be managed, leaving you without time (and energy) to focus on a new project or business.” — Patricia Gorsky, Auntie Pat’s Crafts
  • “I agree with the above comments. But! If you are talking about starting a business as opposed to working in a “male” corporate job, those are different. If you have a dream, go for it! If you are the type of person that doesn’t have to have the cheerleaders or the support from your family and friends — you are a go-getter and will be on top. Maybe it’s just my location in the U.S., but I just don’t see women not being promoted or unable to advance. Whether it’s corporate or a business owner. You are what you make yourself and your business. To address the issues of being the chief of your household and children, yes, it’s not easy. I can say that from experience, I am a mother of nine children. Time will pass quickly, and you want to enjoy your children. That’s when you learn to say no and set your boundaries, business, and home. Your determination will get you to the top.” — Cindy King, A King’s Image
  • “All of the above and then for me — fear. Fear of it not being perfect, what will people think, time to get it right, and all the things. I didn’t enter being a business owner on my own — Jay and I always did it together. Now, I find the fear has been counterproductive and now that I am moving through and shutting that feeling down, I see success and if something fails, it truly isn’t a failure if I tried, was able to learn something from it, and was able to handle the situation.” — Tanya Doyscher, The Visual Identity Vault and Gracie B. Doodle

Learn more about women in business in The Growth of Women-Owned Businesses.


Kristine Shreve

Kristine is the founder and CEO of Kristine Shreve Consulting which offers writing, marketing and business development services. Kristine is also the creator and host of the Business + Women podcast, where the discussion centers around being a woman business owner. She blogs on her webiste, as well as and On Facebook, Kristine is the founder of the Women in Garment Decoration Facebook group. Kristine was the director of marketing for Ensign Emblem and EnMart from 2006 to April 2020.

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