Roundtable: Women and STEM and Non-STEM Entrepreneurship: Barriers and the Role of Governmental Policy
(Social Equity)

Friday, November 3, 2017: 3:15 PM-4:45 PM
Stetson F (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Roundtable Organizers:  Neha Nanda, IMPAQ International, LLC
Moderators:  Neha Nanda, IMPAQ International, LLC
Speakers:  Anna K. Rorem1, Dolores F. Rowen1, Jessica Milli2 and Angela Pate3, (1)National Women’s Business Council(2)Institute for Women's Policy Research(3)Focused Management Solutions

Self-employment rates for women have been historically lower than those of men. According to ACS data from 2001-2014, about 11.7 % of male workers were self-employed, compared to 6.9% of female workers. Researchers have examined various potential reasons for gender disparity in self-employment. Female entrepreneurs are able to obtain only 1% of their startup capital from banks, compared to 19% for male entrepreneurs. Both, loan denial and the level of interest rates for approved loans are higher for minority and female entrepreneurs. There is also evidence that female-owned businesses have lower business receipts, earnings, and profitability than do male-owned businesses. Further, lack of access to child care may inhibit the success and growth of a small business. As female entrepreneurs are more likely than male entrepreneurs to have a child under the age of six, women may experience a lower probability of setting up a successful business. Recent research from IWPR finds underrepresentation of women in patenting as well and shows that while women make up about 33 percent of graduates with STEM degrees, only 18.8 percent of all patents have any women listed as an inventor (and only about 11 percent of all inventors are women). A variety of factors may contribute to women’s underrepresentation in patenting. One major factor is their relative underrepresentation in the STEM workforce. Despite these barriers, the 2012 Survey of Business Owners highlights some of the most dramatic increases in entrepreneurship among women, and specifically among women of color. This roundtable will focus on gender disparity in entrepreneurship, including the STEM gender patenting gap, discuss barriers women face in starting and operating successful businesses, and the role of strong governmental policies and initiatives in bridging this gap. The session will include an in-depth discussion of the diverse challenges and experiences of low and high-skilled women, and of women of color. The four speakers bring different experiences and perspectives to this topic including those of a researcher, federal government and local practitioner.

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