Women chief executives at Yahoo!, IBM, General Motors and other corporate giants are getting plenty of attention these days. But here's a much bigger story: women-owned small businesses – already numbering nearly 10 million – are starting up at twice the rate of men-owned businesses, and they are succeeding despite an all too real glass ceiling. At the same time, women in Congress are leading the legislative fight to crack that glass ceiling and level the playing field for women-owned businesses.
As the lead Democrat on the Senate's Small Business Committee, I've had countless conversations with businesswomen from across the U.S. They are proud to be successful business owners and job creators. But they tell disturbing stories of barriers confronting women entrepreneurs that aren't encountered by their male counterparts. They face longer odds in getting access to credit and capital, winning government contracts, and accessing the business counseling they need to succeed.