Issue of the Day: Education Makes a Difference in Number of Self-Employed
Project America - Issue of the Day: Education Makes a Difference in Number of Self-Employed

Published Thursday, April 30th, 2009

A recent report by the Small Business Administration surveyed self-employed women and how they used their time between work and home life. Over the past decade, the number of self-employed women has shown a proportional increase over the past 35 years. The self-employment rate for women was 42% of the rate for men in 1979; it remained near 55% from 1994-2003. In 2003, 6.8% of women in the labor force were self-employed, compared with 12.4% of men. Data suggest that women choose self-employment because of family factors, and self-employed women are not as motivated by earnings. The administration suggest that programs that enhance work-life balance or facilitate secondary child care opportunities and increase paths to education would serve to encourage greater numbers of women to seek self-employment.

The number of women firms has reached the 6.5 million mark and grossing nearly a billion dollars a year. This has been fueled by an exponential growth in small business loans to minorities. The percentage distribution for the labor force by gender shows a steady parallel for the last 30 years. Of those who are mothers and wives, those who have children under 18 are leaving the work force in greater numbers since 2003. As for the second policy recommendation on education, college graduates in the workforce have overtaken the high school graduates since 2002.

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