Access to Reproductive Health Underpins Women Entrepreneurs’ Economic Success

Publisher: 
Small Business Majority
Date: 
Thursday, March 1, 2018

For decades, women have been breaking the glass ceiling on entrepreneurship. From 1987 to 2007 the number of U.S. women-owned, small businesses increased from 10% to 30%. As of last year, more than 11 million of our nation’s business are owned by women, contributing more than $1.6 trillion to our economy. Yet despite this progress, women-owned businesses lag behind their male counterparts in crucial business indicators like revenue and number of employees. This is especially true for female entrepreneurs of color, who are disproportionately affected by a variety of factors that impact the growth of minority entrepreneurship, including inadequate capital, lack of workplace development training and fewer angel investors. This is why it’s crucial for women entrepreneurs to have access to the resources and benefits that underpin their success.

New scientific opinion polling conducted for Small Business Majority by Lake Research Partners and American Viewpoint found reproductive healthcare and access to birth control is important to women small business owners’ bottom lines, especially for women of color, and has been an important component of their ability to move forward in their careers and launch their businesses.

The poll, which surveyed 507 women small business owners nationwide, including oversamples of 100 African-American and 100 Latina small business owners, found the majority of African-American and Latina women entrepreneurs (65% and 64% respectively) say their ability to access birth control and to decide if and when to have children has impacted their bottom line as a business owner.

As this survey makes clear, access to reproductive healthcare and birth control is important to women small business owners’ ability to plan and move forward with their careers and their businesses. It’s not surprising then that reproductive healthcare is important to their success, and that access to family planning resources has been a critical component of pursuing financial security through 

Key Findings

Women entrepreneurs who traditionally face more systematic and institutional barriers to growth say access to birth control is important to their bottom lines: More than 6 in 10 female entrepreneurs of color (65% of African-American and 64% of Latina women entrepreneurs) agree that their ability to access birth control and to decide if and when to have children has impacted their bottom line. 

My ability to access birth control to decide if and when to have children has impacted my ability to succeed as a business owner.

Women small business owners, especially younger business owners and women of color, believe access to birth control was critical to their ability to start a business and advance their career: Women of color who own small businesses feel strongly that access to birth control has allowed them to advance their career (71% of African-American women and 69% of Latinas agree). Sixty-two percent of younger business owners and 56% of all respondents agree their ability to access birth control and to decide if and when to have children allowed them to advance in their career and start their business, and 52% agree that such access impacts their ability to grow their business. 

My ability to access birth control to decide if and when to have children allowed me to advance my career and start my own business.

Women of color who own small businesses say access to contraception has impacted their ability to succeed: While respondents overall are split on whether access to birth control has impacted their success (46% agree and 46% disagree), women of color who own small businesses are more likely to say access to birth control to decide if and when to have children has impacted their ability to succeed. Indeed, 68% of African-American and 66% of Latinas agree that this has been important to their success. 

Women small business owners believe access to health insurance and reproductive healthcare is important to women’s financial security: 79% of respondents agree access to reproductive healthcare is important to women’s financial well-being, and 59% strongly agree with this statement. Strong majorities say having health insurance coverage (87%) and having access to reproductive healthcare to determine if and when to have children (57%) is important to obtaining financial security.

Women small business owners do not see these issues through an ideological lens: 41% identify as Republican or Republican-leaning independents, 39% are Democrat or Democrat-leaning independents and 11% are pure independent.

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State(s): 
National