We’ve heard the statistics before: the average woman in the US makes 80 cents for every dollar the average man makes. Indigenous women, Black women, and Hispanic women make 75 cents on the dollar, Asian women make 95 cents, and white women make 81 cents.
For entrepreneurs, it’s actually worse. When we go into entrepreneurship or owning our own business, it might seem like we will have more financial freedom; we’ll get to set our own rates and prices; so as long as we work hard, we’ll make what we deserve… right? Wrong.
The average self-employed woman makes 72 cents for every dollar a self-employed man makes. When you break it down further into people who own their own businesses, the average woman business-owner makes 51 cents for every dollar the average man business-owner makes.
I recently saw the jobs report that was released stating that FOUR TIMES AS MANY women left the workforce as men in September 2020. That is: more than 860,000 women left the workforce and 216,000 men left.
Woah. That number is staggering.
But my guess is, you aren’t surprised.
My guess is you have felt the effect of the economic shut down and the increased childcare and schooling burden first hand in your own home. Even in two-parent households where both parents find themselves working from home, the burden of childcare and schooling is falling on women.
During the pandemic, since many women entrepreneurs were already “at home,” many of us absorbed the increased burden of childcare and distance learning, causing a decrease in the amount of hours (and brain power) we were able to devote to our businesses. This resulted in a decrease in revenue for many women-owned and solo-led businesses.
Even during non-pandemic times, women are expected to take on the majority of the childcare and household duties, even if she is working the same amount of hours as a man – either at home or in an office. I know this isn’t new information — in almost every society of the world through every period of time, women have been expected to, and in fact do, take on the majority of the labor related to children and the home.
In the average home in the US, if a child has to stay home from school because they are sick, a woman is more likely to stay home with the child than a man. If a relative becomes ill and a family is responsible for caregiving, women are most commonly the ones who take on that extra labor. Even during school breaks, women are statistically more likely to take unpaid time off or leave the workforce altogether in order to take care of the children.
So let’s talk about why. When a decision needs to be made about who will take care of the children or a sick family member, it makes the most “economic sense” for the lower-wage earner to stop working and take on the responsibility at home. In the majority of households in America, the lower-wage earner is a woman — just take a look at the statistics above.
Women often turn to entrepreneurship because of the wage gap and less hospitable corporate environments for working moms, but as we can see by the statistics above, entrepreneurship does not usually mean a smaller wage gap.
There are myriad reasons why women entrepreneurs (self employed women, women business owners, etc.) make so much less than men – and we can blame most of those statistics on the patriarchy. But what can we actually do to combat this staggering pay gap?
- Support women business owners and woman-owned businesses.
- Support women who had to leave the workforce.
- Engage in spaces predominantly focused around women in business or women entrepreneurs to strengthen connections and business relationships.
- Mentor an aspiring woman entrepreneur — one reason why women make less than men is because we are socialized to not advocate for ourselves or view our worth as equal to a man’s.
- UNITE. Whether you are working more this year than ever before, or you had to leave the workforce, every woman is strong and valid. WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER.
AND focus on making your own business more sustainable. The reason so many of us started our own businesses was to have more flexibility…for fun things and not so fun things. But we need a business that can sustain ups and downs in the world and in our own lives.
Are you able to block out one day to sit down and really focus on your business? A Workcation is a one-day intensive where you and I (and Team Let’s Collective) work side-by-side to solidify where your business is headed, create an implementation plan, and start building momentum that accelerates your project.
A workcation is a dedicated day to work ON your business not FOR your business. Sign up for one today!
And always remember:
You are amazing.
You are doing a great job.
You’ve got this.
We are all in this together, and we women are stronger together.