We’re still seeing the aftermath of the Great Disruption — and one shockwave that continues to ripple through corporate America is the disproportionate number of women who left the workforce during the pandemic.
But where are all these women going?
One movement bubbling under the surface & starting to gain velocity: the rise of the quarantine-born female entrepreneur. Many of those who have left their old jobs aren’t joining the ranks of the unemployed, but rather, the self-employed.
They’re handing in their resignations, empowered to start their own businesses, work for themselves and take control back of their schedules and career trajectories.
Before we dive in, here’s the 101:
Women leaving corporate jobs in droves to become female founders, entrepreneurs & freelancers
Female entrepreneurs by the numbers:
- 55% of the workers who’ve gone independent since 2020 are women
- 31% of U.S. small businesses and franchises are owned by women
- 43% of the world’s entrepreneurs are women
- 17% of black women are currently starting or running new businesses
Silver linings of quarantine steering the boom in female entrepreneurship:
- Greater control & flexibility in terms of where and when we work:
- Working moms Asya Geller and Talia Friedman left long careers at Sotheby’s to start Werkzy after the pandemic showed them their need for flexible schedules and control over their day-to-day lives.
More emphasis on maintaining mental health:
- Martha Palacio was experiencing job burnout when she made the decision to create virtual fitness studio Social Joy: One of her members noted, “Without this moment we are living in, solopreneurs like Martha would never have made this shift, and would never have had me — and lots of other people like me — as customers.”
We reassessed priorities and how we spend our time:
- Tamika Scriven turned her love of wigmaking into a business during quarantine, bravely launching Allure Wigs in spite of the historic recession. Scriven says, “My mom had been at the same company for almost 20 years, and what did she get in the end? A small severance check…I want to be in control of what happens in my life, professionally and financially.”
The Hustle Mentality. We’re once again rewriting our definition of success. It’s no longer about the prize at the top of the climb, but about the rewards of the journey itself.
Here’s how the female entrepreneurship boom leans into the 5 drivers of momentum. Corporate America can apply these lessons to their own businesses to retain talented women.
- Disruption: Women once had to choose between having a life, a family & a career… now, many are working on their own terms to make it happen.
- Innovation: Tech innovations like Shopify, Insta shopping, and online resources/courses are enabling female entrepreneurs to thrive and oftentimes start businesses without the capital that they are so often denied.
- Polarization: Empowering vs. overwhelming — Sole proprietorship is not the solution for everyone… Starting a business is daunting and risky. Many find less stress in the stability of a corporate job.
- Stickiness: Flexible work schedules are here to stay, especially for mothers — the prioritization of performance rather than face time is key.
- Social Impact: Entrepreneurship is becoming more accessible & inclusive — many female founders are driven to help other women overcome traditional barriers to starting a business.
Best Days Ahead,