Women in Business in Central Florida, Making an Impact.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor
- Women are expected to account for 51 percent of the increase in labor force growth for the period 2008 to 2018.
- Unemployment rates are lower for women than men.
- Women are making workforce gains in fields traditionally dominated by men, including as Physicians and Surgeons, Chief Executives, Lawyers, Computer and Software Engineers and Chief Executives.
Among entrepreneurs, females are setting the pace nationwide – with 45% increase from 2007 to 2015 in the number of women-owned businesses, bringing the total number to 11.3 million, according to statistics compiled by Balboa Capital, a California-based business lender.
Florida ranks in the top 10 of the fastest growth areas for women-owned businesses and has developed special incentives and lending programs to encourage new business ventures among women.
Central Florida made it into the top 50 percent of Best Places for Women-Owned Businesses, according to NerdWallet, with 30% of all business in the Orlando/Kissimmee/Sanford area owned by women. The numbers for Palm Bay/Melbourne/Titusville were almost identical.
It’s clear that there’s more work to be done for women in the STEM fields in the marketplace, but work in the classroom is trending on target with male counterparts. The National Science Foundation reports that female students’ achievement in mathematics and science is on par with their male peers, and female students participate in high-level mathematics and science courses at similar rates as their male peers, with the exception of computer science and engineering.
However, that begins to fade at the undergraduate level. Again from the National Science Foundation: Women remain underrepresented in the science and engineering workforce, although to a lesser degree than in the past, with the greatest disparities occurring in engineering, computer science, and the physical sciences (NSF, Science & Engineering Indicators, 2016).
Likewise, there is optimism on the compensation front. Salaries for women continue to inch upwards and, currently, Florida is among the states with higher – though not equitable – earnings for women. In fact, Florida ranks among the top six states, including New York and Hawaii, where the ratio of women’s earnings to men’s is 85% or higher. Even some states, considered much more progressive, such as California, Oregon and Washington (state), fell below that number, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.