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Mind the (Shrinking) Gender Gap

It’s not news that women have historically trailed men in financial terms. But women today are more financially independent than they’ve ever been, and the rate at which they are closing the financial gender gap may surprise you.

In some cases, women are not only closing the gender gap, but leaping over it entirely. Education, for example, is an area where women have been outpacing their male counterparts for decades. By 2022, women will earn 148 college degrees for every 100 degrees earned by men1. This disparity is visible from the associate degree level through master’s degrees. In short, women are seeking—and attaining—higher education in droves.

Women are using that education to make a greater impact in the business world. Between 1997 and 2014, the number of women-owned firms increased by 68%— twice the rate of male-owned businesses2. And it’s estimated that by 2018, 1/3 of new U.S. jobs will be generated by female-owned companies3.


A Business Revolution?

Not only are the numbers of woman-owned businesses growing, they’re growing in fields traditionally dominated by men. The following six industries are the fastest growing industries for women-owned businesses,3 and the first four are considered traditionally male-dominated fields:

  1. Construction
  2. Transportation & Warehousing
  3. Waste & Environmental Services
  4. Information & Technology
  5. Real Estate
  6. Education Services

Finally, these trends are culminating in a household shift. Though there’s still a gap in overall pay between men and women, on an individual household basis women are increasingly becoming the breadwinners for their families: 29% of women were out-earning their husbands as of 2012.4

In short, women are the most financially independent they’ve ever been. There’s still room for progress, however, and despite these advances, women investors remain an underserved market by financial advisors.


To learn more about how to leverage this opportunity, contact your Hartford Funds AC to get started, or view the replay of our webinar “Women Investors: A $22 Trillion Opportunity.” While you’re there, enter your email address to automatically receive updates on this topic.




1 No commencement speaker will mention the huge gender college degree gap for the class of 2013 favoring women,, May 2013, most recent data available used

Women Launching 1,200 New Businesses a Day, New Research Shows,, most recent data available used

Fast-Growing Small Businesses Led by Women,, May 2011, most recent data available used

Breadwinner Moms,, May 29, 2013, most recent data available used