According to the second annual Bank of America Women Business Owner Spotlight, female entrepreneurs envision significant strides for women in the workforce over the next 20 years, with a majority believing that women will match or exceed men in a number of areas.
To learn more about women business owners’ specific insights, Bank of America surveyed 1,000 small business owners across the country, focusing on aspirations and concerns regarding the economy, empowerment and opportunity.
“The rules of business are changing, and women entrepreneurs are at the forefront of the transformation. They have articulated an inspiring vision for the small business community over the next 20 years — one of equal pay, leadership opportunities and greater support for those with families,” said Sharon Miller, head of Small Business. “Within the context of a growing economy, this bodes incredibly well for the future of women in business.”
Shattering the glass ceiling
According to the survey, women entrepreneurs expect big cracks in the glass ceiling — the proverbial barrier to advancement — over the next 20 years.
- 80% of female entrepreneurs foresee greater or equal representation of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields compared to men in STEM.
- 68% believe women will match or exceed men in executive leadership role representation.
- 66% believe there will be more women-owned small businesses compared to those owned by men.
- 61% believe their wages will be equal to or greater than those of men.
Striking the right work-life balance
The Spotlight also explored the struggles of achieving a work-life balance, finding that while many women entrepreneurs experience long hours, a large majority actually feel they have a good balance between their work and home lives.
They’re also enjoying their work, primarily describing their average week as interesting, fulfilling and enjoyable. However, fewer believe they have achieved this balance compared to their male counterparts.
Growing optimism about the economy
Women small business owners have shown significant increases in optimism toward the economy improving in the year ahead — including confidence in their local economy (45% in 2017 vs. 37% in 2016), the national economy (44% in 2017 vs. 25% in 2016) and the global economy (32% in 2017 vs. 16% in 2016).
Despite the substantial boost in economic confidence, the number of women small business owners who plan to grow their business over the next five years has declined (54% in 2017 vs. 60% in 2016), as has the number of women anticipating a revenue increase over the next 12 months (44% in 2017 vs. 54% in 2016).
“The data we collect through this survey helps Bank of America better serve this important client segment not only with their small business relationships, but also with all their financial needs,” Sharon said.
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