A Brief History of Female Entrepreneurship

Female entrepreneurship has a long and rich history, dating back to ancient times when women were involved in trade and commerce and the Middle Ages when women were involved in selling goods and producing textiles. However, the first recorded case of a female entrepreneur dates back to 1739 when Eliza Lucas took over her family’s plantations in South Carolina, USA at the age of 16.

The textile industry boomed in the 19th century, and many women started their own textile businesses, providing them with economic and social status.

During the early 20th century, women’s participation in the workforce increased significantly, but they were still primarily relegated to low-paying jobs. Madame C.J. Walker is one good example of a female entrepreneur who managed to break through with her hair company, which became one of the largest African-American-owned businesses in the United States.

When feminism started to rise in the 1900s, female entrepreneurs became a widely accepted term and caused a significant increase in female entrepreneurship. Even though women still faced significant challenges in accessing financial and business networks, they were no longer being related solely to lower-paying jobs and had better opportunities to create their own businesses.

In today’s world where we can see rising equality between men and women, female entrepreneurship is on the global rise. Many organizations and initiatives have been launched to support and encourage women’s entrepreneurship, including mentorship programs, networking opportunities, and funding programs specifically for female-led businesses.

Persistency and innovation describe the history of female entrepreneurship. Throughout history, women have managed to break through and succeed in the business world despite barriers and discrimination. The more women become entrepreneurs, the closer we’re coming to creating a more inclusive and diverse world.

What successful story with a woman-entrepreneur in the spotlight inspires you?

Selina Niemi


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