Why Single Women Are Quicker to Jump Into Entrepreneurship

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Why Single Women Are Quicker to Jump Into Entrepreneurship
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Senior Entrepreneurship Writer at CNBC
3 min read

Single women are becoming entrepreneurs at faster rates than both married women or men, according to government labor data.

New research from economist Carlianne Patrick of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University breaks down the factors that motivate women to become entrepreneurs based on their marital status.

“The reality is that married and unmarried women appear to be motivated by different factors,” Patrick says in a press release accompanying the new research.

The reasons that anybody becomes an entrepreneur are often complicated and multifaceted. Both women and men, regardless of marital status, are often motivated to leave the corporate world in favor of self-employment for reasons other than money. The allure of a flexible schedule, complete control over your work and no commute are enough to convince a burned out, frustrated corporate soldier to sacrifice some money in the trade off, according to the report.

Related: Women Raise More Money With Crowdfunding, Research Shows

So what affects the decision of a married women to be her own boss?

Progressive gender roles

Married women who live in areas where the cultural perception of gender roles are more progressive are more likely to be self-employed. By contrast, the local perception of gender roles does not affect a single woman’s decision to be her own boss, according to the findings.

“It appears that married women are more likely to be influenced by society’s gender-role attitudes,” the report says.

Young kids

Women who have children under 5 years old are motivated to be self employed. Often, mothers with young children opt to take time away from working for childcare, but becoming an entrepreneur is an alternative to completely leaving the workforce, the report says.

That finding can potentially be useful for local policy makers. “If women are choosing between not working and self-employment, then efforts to help them become self-employed will create a job and generate earnings for someone otherwise out of the labor force,” Patrick says.

Related: What Sheryl Sandberg Would Have Told Her Younger Self

And how about single women? What factors influence an unmarried woman to be self-employed?


More so than their married colleagues, money is a motivating factor for unmarried women to become self-employed. Single women become entrepreneurs because they think they will make more money than they will as a salaried employee.


Single women who have higher confidence, as measured by the Rosenberg test scores, are more likely to be self-employed. Meanwhile, confidence is not a statistical determining factor for either married women or men to become self-employed, according to the report.

A local entrepreneurship community

The rates of entrepreneurship are higher among single women in areas where the rates of self-employment overall are higher, according to the research, which utilized geocoded data, or data connected to a particular location.

“Unmarried women enter self-employment where there are more opportunities and where there is a stronger entrepreneurial culture,” the report says.

Related: Rent the Runway Just Launched a Competition and Mentorship Program for Women Entrepreneurs

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