Women Small Business Owners in Male-Dominated Industries are Ten Times More Likely Than Men to Have Their Expertise Questioned Because of Their Gender

Feb 26, 2019

PD00913 - womens day stillSquare and Thumbtack Survey Reveals New Insights on Women Small Business Owners

February 26, 2019 - SAN FRANCISCO - In support of women in small business, and ahead of National Women’s History Month, Square and Thumbtack surveyed over 900 female small business owners across the U.S. to better understand the gender stereotypes women face, their susceptibility to the wage gap, and the unique support system that female small business owners have created to encourage and support each other.

A survey conducted by Square and Thumbtack shows that nearly half (48 percent) of women business owners in male dominated industries have had their expertise questioned on the job because of their gender, making them ten times more likely than men to face this kind of stereotyping. That number increases for black women business owners, 58 percent of whom felt their expertise had been questioned because of their race and gender.

“There was a time when I hid behind my email signature, ‘L.R. Hanke,’ and never used my face on marketing materials. Upon learning that I am a black, female roofer, I’ve had clients refuse to shake my hand, dismiss me entirely, even doors shut in my face,” said Letitia Hanke, who owns her own roofing company based in Santa Rosa, CA.

Despite these hurdles, the majority of women small business owners feel that by being their own boss, they are less susceptible to workplace discrimination and the gender pay gap. By working for themselves, 54 percent of women surveyed say they feel less susceptible to the gender pay gap and 58 percent report that they’re less likely to experience workplace discrimination.

Additionally, in the face of these challenges, female small business owners are banding together to support one another. In fact, 69 percent of women say it is personally important to them to support other small businesses owned and operated by women, and 40 percent of women reported having a network of female small business owners to turn to for business-related advice.

“I was tired of dealing with the discrimination and instead decided to use my unique perspective to my advantage. From the moment I began to embrace this by using my full name, Letitia, and my face on everything, my business grew. And it has continued to grow ever since,” said Hanke.

“We are now part of a tribe we didn’t know existed before we started our business, ” said Amy Wall, a handywoman based in Washington, DC. “Women from all around the country now refer us or seek us out for projects because they want to support a small business run by two women. It’s unbelievable to see women we don’t even know driving our business forward.”

The report also reveals that women business owners feel most supported by their local government in Washington DC, followed by Chicago, and Houston. But overall, only 21 percent of women business owners feel that their local government does enough to support businesses owned and operated by women.

For full survey results and methodology, visit www.thumbtack.com/blog/Build-Her-Up.

These data were collected via the Thumbtack Economic Sentiment Survey, which captures the attitudes and perspectives of thousands of business owners from across the country every month to gauge how they are feeling about the economy, their businesses, and their careers. For this particular study, we focused on the 920 respondents to our January 2019 survey that identified as female. The female freelance workers and small business owners that we heard from spanned 47 states and the District of Columbia, and represented fields ranging from photography to house painting to personal training.

About Square, Inc.
Square, Inc. (NYSE: SQ) revolutionized payments in 2009 with Square Reader, making it possible for anyone to accept card payments using a smartphone or a tablet computer. Today, Square provides tools that empower businesses and individuals to participate in the economy. This cohesive ecosystem of managed payments, hardware, point-of-sale software, and other business services helps sellers manage inventory, locations, and employees; access financing; engage buyers; and grow sales. With Weebly, sellers can build a website or online store; with Caviar, restaurants can easily offer diners delivery, pickup, and group ordering; and with Cash App, individuals can send, spend, and store money. Square is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, Ireland, and the UK.

About Thumbtack
Thumbtack, headquartered in San Francisco, was created to solve a seemingly simple problem: local professionals need customers so they can run and grow their business. Customers need local pros too, but have trouble finding the right ones. So in 2008, the Thumbtack founders developed a marketplace bringing the two together. Since then, Thumbtack has helped hundreds of thousands of skilled professionals build successful businesses and millions of customers each year with everything from plumbing, to catering, to personal training to math tutoring. Learn more at www.thumbtack.com.