New FreshBooks Research Finds Gender Discrimination Drives More Women to Become Entrepreneurs - But They Still Face the Wage Gap

Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Toronto, Dec. 05, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- FreshBooks today announced results from its second annual Women in the Independent Workforce Report, the only study focused exclusively on the experiences of aspiring and currently self-employed women in America. Findings from this year’s study suggest the U.S. may witness a historical closing of the gender entrepreneurship gap within the next 5 years, driven in part by women’s experiences with gender discrimination in the traditional workplace. 

At a time when millions of women are choosing to work for themselves, FreshBooks’ report also examines a stubborn problem: even when self-employed women set their own rates, they charge less than men. And this is the case even among knowledge workers. The full report is available here

To produce this year’s study, FreshBooks partnered with leading market research provider Dynata to survey 1,500 women who work full-time, either as traditional employees, independent professionals, or small business owners. 

Major findings from the report:

The Gender Entrepreneurship Gap could close within the next 5 years

While self-employment and small business ownership have long been dominated by men who outnumber women by a 2:1 margin, change is on the horizon. The data suggest that 2 in 5 aspiring entrepreneurs today in America are women, and that within the next 5 years, we may see somewhere between 10 to 12 million women join the independent workforce.

Gender discrimination is driving women to entrepreneurship

Currently, more than 1 in 3 self-employed women began working for themselves in part because of experiences with gender discrimination in the workplace. Additionally, more than half of currently self-employed women (55 percent) left their traditional jobs because they believed they could advance their careers faster on their own. 

Self-employed women aren’t looking back - the risks are worth the rewards

The majority of women who work for themselves say they have less stress, better health, and enjoy better work-life balance. Two-thirds make as much if not more money than they did before. Although 55 percent of self-employed women say they must now work harder to succeed, 96 percent say they would not consider returning to a ‘regular’ job. 

Self-employment is not a cure for gender discrimination

Gender discrimination does not disappear once women become business owners. One in three self-employed women feel they need to work harder than men in order to succeed. Interestingly, even 1 in 3 men agree this is the case for women. The majority of self-employed women also say they’re not taken as seriously by their clients.

Even among knowledge-based entrepreneurs, a 17 percent gender earnings gap persists across America 

The data show self-employed women in knowledge-based industries earn 17 percent less than men who do the same work. An analysis of the earnings gap in the 10 most populous states shows regional variation, with the highest earnings gap in Georgia (23 percent), followed closely by Texas, Florida, New York, and California (22 percent). Michigan came in under the national average (17 percent) at 16 percent. 

Read FreshBooks’ 2nd Annual Women in the Independent Workforce Report here

About FreshBooks

FreshBooks is the #2 small business accounting software in America, with paying customers in 160 countries. The company has helped more than 20 million people process billions of dollars through its easy-to-use invoicing, time-tracking, expense management and online payments features. Recognized with nine Stevie awards for best customer service in the world, the company’s mantra is to “execute extraordinary experiences everyday.” FreshBooks is headquartered in Toronto, Canada, with offices in Raleigh, North Carolina and Amsterdam, Netherlands.

About FreshBooks Research

In support of FreshBooks’ mission to “reshape the world to suit the needs of self-employed professionals and their teams,” the Communications and Research team produces a series of annual research reports to shed light on the experiences of people who work for themselves full-time. FreshBooks research has been featured by media outlets such as USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, CBS, NBC, Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, Fast Company and more.  Explore FreshBooks’ research at


Lindsay Lapchuk

Communications & Research, FreshBooks



FreshBooks Women in the Independent Workforce Report, 2019

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