The U.S. Bureau of Labor StatisticsWoman in Business Suit reports that women have held nearly 50% of all jobs in the United States for the last decade, a sharp increase from decades past. The number of female-owned businesses has also risen, and may–perhaps, should–continue to do so as women are having to step into the role of primary breadwinners for their families.

Women and the Recession

A variety of media outlets, including CNN, Fox News, USA Today, and Time Magazine, have all recently reported how the recession has hurt American men the most: over 80% of jobs lost in 2009, due to recession-related cutbacks, were those in the manufacturing and construction sector–positions typically held by men. According to Nancy Gibbs, writing for Time Magazine’s The State of the American Woman, “it’s expected that by the end of the year, for the first time in history the majority of workers in the United States will be women.”

However, Catherine Rampell of The New York Times reports that though women are moving toward dominating the American labor force, they are still paid about 80 cents on the dollar for similar positions held by men with education and experience akin to their own. She writes, “women may be safer in their jobs, but tend to find it harder to support a family.”

It appears to be a great, even necessary, time for women to start their own businesses!

Female-Owned Businesses

For everyone, the benefits of owning a business are many: business owners set their own hours and compensation, they generally feel more devoted to and satisfied by the work, and there is zero possibility of being laid off. For women, these benefits may be especially attractive given that they are not always adequately compensated when supporting someone else’s passion.

Marilyn Kourilsky, Professor at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, and Co-Director of the Institute for the Study of Education Entrepreneurship (ISEE), told BusinessWeek Magazine that 1 out of 11 women in the United States is already a business owner and that almost half of independently owned businesses in existence are female-owned and operated.

The first multimillion-dollar software entrepreneur was a woman. ASK Computer Systems Inc.’s Sandra Kurtzig launched her contract software programming business out of her garage, with a focus on providing outstanding customer service in addition to a great product.

Romy Taormina and Carla Falcone similarly created Psi Bands–attractive acupuncture wrist bands designed to relieve nausea due to chemotherapy, anesthesia, morning sickness, and motion sickness–and were recently recognized by the National Association of Women Business Owners for their business practices and community involvement.

Nellie Akalp, founder and CEO of, a document filing service, helps other women follow their dreams of starting or running a business. She and her staff assist first-time (and seasoned) entrepreneurs with incorporating or forming an LLC, services that start at only $49 plus state fees.

Starting a Business Affordably

Starting a business can be overwhelming, but does not have to be. Choosing a business with low start-up costs, preferably one that operates from the home; devising a business plan that incorporates inexpensive marketing strategies (like networking); and committing to providing stellar customer service, no matter what, are both financially and intellectually feasible for most women. With job insecurity still a reality for many Americans, particularly men, and companies like offering inexpensive assistance to register an LLC or incorporate a business, creating and building a privately-owned business has never been easier, or possibly more important.