Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

Woman enterprises growing faster compared to men: US Census Bureau


Woman enterprises growing faster compared to men: US Census Bureau
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of women who own small businesses is growing, with 1.24 million employer businesses (those with employees) in the country.

And women are eager for financial education: investing is the second most popular topic among Principalfemale's customers.

So, why do women continue to outperform men in terms of financial outcomes in both the marketplace and the workplace?

According to our findings, women have less access to financial products, tools, services, and safeguards than men. 2 This access disparity extends to female-led businesses seeking capital to start or grow their businesses.

The principal can assist
Before someone can feel financially secure, they must first be accepted into the system.

With this in mind, we are taking steps to ensure that women have an equal chance of success by removing barriers and providing the financial tools they require, particularly when starting and running a business.

We committed in 2020 to doubling the number of businesses owned by women and people of colour by 2025. We are making significant progress towards this goal:
  • As a First Women's Bank Mission Partner, Principal provides capital to fuel the growth of women-owned businesses.
  • Aidha, a Principal® Foundation grantee in Singapore, provides financial education and skill-building to migrant domestic workers and low-income women. With the help of the Principal Foundation, FreeFrom is creating an ecosystem of support for survivors of intimate partner violence. FreeFrom removes financial security barriers unique to survivors by providing basic needs, access to capital, and professional skill-building through Gifted, their social enterprise.
Principal also assists customers in improving their financial wellness by providing helpful products and resources, personalized information, and tailored education, such as webinars tailored to women's financial challenges and goals.

“If the problems are varied and systemic, the chasm can feel unbridgeable,” said Jo Christine Miles, director of community relations and Principal Foundation.

“But it’s not. Policy changes, combined with focused, innovative, capacity-building programs, and expanded access to capital could help more women-owned small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs thrive.”

Inculcating a sense of belonging
Of course, driving change begins with core values and aligning employer practices.

We conducted a global pay equity study with a third party in 2022, focusing on race and gender. The outcomes: Among financial services companies that report pay equity data, our pay equity management is best in class. We also require all leaders to undergo unconscious bias training and apply what they learn in daily decision-making.

Furthermore, we are in our third year on the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI), which ranks companies based on key factors such as leadership and talent pipeline, equal pay and gender pay parity, inclusive culture, anti-sexual harassment policies, and external brand. We outperformed the other 153 financial firms evaluated for their work in 2022 in seven out of eight categories.

“These are just a few examples of how we’ve continued to reinforce a culture of inclusion at Principal,” says Miriam Lewis, chief inclusion officer for Principal. “It’s feeling you can be your authentic self while at work. When you have that, you have the license to bring your ideas to the table and can focus on the business itself—because you’re not thinking about covering up. You’re thinking about financial security for all.”

Women at Principal can tap into that deep sense of belonging even more as members of the Global Women's employee resource group (ERG), which provides opportunities to connect, develop, empower, and support one another across departments and countries. This newly formed group unites existing women-focused initiatives and groups under one roof in order to provide more unified support and development for women at Principal. The Global Women's ERG was launched in 2023 with a virtual event on March 8, International Women's Day.

Women account for 54% of the global workforce and 46% of leadership.

When employees require more specialized assistance, they can turn to one of six niche women's networks supported by the Global Women's ERG, including Women in Technology, Women in Sales, and EnablHER (Women in India).

One of the newest networks, Women in LatAm, focuses on developing female employees in Latin America while also providing tools and resources to promote a more inclusive culture. They have increased the number of job vacancies filled by women by 6% since their inception in 2021, and the percentage of women in executive leadership positions has increased from 36% to 38%.

“Bias, attitudes, and beliefs are the main barriers to female professional development,” says Marcela Blaquier, LatAm Strategy and Project Manager for Principal who co-leads the group. “Raising awareness about shared behaviors is a necessary first step toward making change.”

Finally, our global practise of incorporating women into everything we do is assisting us in reaching our full potential as a company.

“That’s how we get the best out of every employee,” said Lewis . “Varying backgrounds and perspectives lead to innovations and better outcomes and solutions for our valued customers.”