What If the Financial System Were Fair to Women?
In the United States, women own 11.6 million businesses, employ millions of people and annually generate $1.7 trillion in revenue. Female entrepreneurs and their businesses grow significantly in influence and sales with each passing year.
Yet, today, there is still a significant gap between men’s and women’s ability to access credit and funding to grow their businesses.
History shows that women business owners have faced greater obstacles (when compared to men) in their journey toward getting business credit and securing investment. These obstacles exist because of systemic and individual discrimination, both legacies of the legal discrimination women have fought for decades.
Why is there still a gender credit gap?
Inequities in today’s financial landscape remain and are often exacerbated by financial institutions in their methods for determining creditworthiness. We’re not saying that all individuals working in credit or finance are sexist—but we are saying that the way credit is typically determined often perpetuates a legacy of inequality, which harms women when they seek business credit.
In our report, What If: Designing Fair & Equal Financial Access for Women, we take a deep dive into the topic of credit for women in three parts:
- First, we examine the particular challenges that women have encountered in the workplace and when starting businesses.
- Second, we question if and how the current financial system treats women entrepreneurs differently than men. We also discuss how the common methodologies for understanding creditworthiness can undermine women’s business success.
- Third, we look at recent technological innovations such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, and discuss how modern financial firms can use these tools to remove bias from the industry.
Fair and equitable access to business credit shouldn’t just happen “someday.” Women should get an equal chance to fund their businesses, contribute to our economy, and realize their dreams, today.