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The UPS Store Small Business blog
  • 22 March 2021
  • Jelani Markus

The Lasting Impact of Women in Business

Celebrating this Women’s History Month from a business standpoint means taking a good look at some of the impact women have had in the business world. The contributions women have made throughout so many industries have been historic, impactful and worthy of praise. Here are just a few eyebrow-raising achievements we can attribute to female entrepreneurs, small business owners and employees.

woman in working in a machine shop

The growing number of women business owners in America

As glass ceilings break and walls upheld by gender topple, women continue to climb the ladder of success. When you look back at a year as recent as 1972, businesses owned by female entrepreneurs in America were few and far between: there were only about 402,000 across the country. Compare that to now and a different story is told. There are more than 12 million businesses owned by women in America, breaking down to an average of 4 out of 10 across the nation.

One of the first self-made female millionaires made her fortune in 1913

Perhaps you’ve heard the name Madam C.J. Walker. If not, her story is incredibly interesting. After a struggle with hair loss, Walker (born Sarah Breedlove) developed a collection of self-made hair care products she called the “Walker System.” Her natural charisma and knack for self-promotion led to her products taking off. She became the first Black woman to reach millionaire status and one of very few self-made female entrepreneurs to achieve such a ranking in America at the time. Her achievements have inspired many other Black women, and women in general, to endeavor into entrepreneurship, with ripples felt all the way up to today.

Women continuing to break ground in “male-dominated” industries

Automotive repair. Carpentry. Electrical work. Years ago, you wouldn’t have been wrong to assume that these types of businesses were run and operated by men. However, things have changed. Now more than ever, women are breaking into what were previously perceived as male-dominated industries and making a name for themselves. As previously hardwired assumptions about women become viewed as demonstrably false, more doors begin to open. As these doors open, more and more intrepid female entrepreneurs venture into spaces where they may be the first woman to do so with others following.

Businesses led by women create many unforeseen benefits

While no group is monolithic, there is a substantial set of benefits of female-owned businesses. On average, women are more open to collaboration than their male counterparts. You don’t have to be a business expert to understand the material benefits that come from more collaboration.

Additionally, women are more likely to have a higher emotional intelligence than men. Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is the ability to perceive and understand both your own emotions and others’ emotions and use this information to guide your own thinking and behavior. A high EQ can deliver a bevy of benefits when it comes to business leadership. Self-awareness, empathy and the ability to listen closely to the concerns of those working under you can yield positive results for a business. Many are unaware of how much of an impact having a female business owner or leader can make, but this is changing rapidly.

Whether you’re a female entrepreneur or a working closing with someone who is, it’s important to understand and recognize the vast contributions of women in business. Seeing the value that women have brought and continue to bring to the table can result in a lasting appreciation that adds to the business world overall.

March is designated as Women’s History Month. To learn more, visit

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