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Polis Report

Sister Co.

By Ami Chen Mills

Habitual patriarchs, take note. It's no longer a man's world. Women are ducking out from under glass ceilings to build their own companies, bringing womanly ways to the workplace. According to SJSU's Michele Bolton, women tend to be more cautious--at first: "For women, becoming a millionaire by 40 is not a metric for success." They often merely hope to make as much as they did at their last job.

But women-owned businesses grow for different reasons than male-owned businesses. According to the National Foundation for Women Business Owners, women see their companies more as families and their relationships more as networks than hierarchies. They often succeed to support their "families," and because they develop solid relationships. As foundation director Sharon Hadary points out: "While there are things that men do that women admire, women's management styles often lead to the same results." What results? Success, lads.

Women-owned businesses now make up over 30 percent of all businesses. They employ more people than the Fortune 500 companies combined, generate an estimated $1.6 trillion in annual revenues, and number nearly 8 million firms. Since the mid-'80s, such businesses have grown at twice the national average, with job growth exceeding the national average in nearly every state and industry.

Sound scary? Relax. Work for a female boss and, statistically, you're more likely to get flex-time, tuition reimbursement and job-sharing benefits. Maybe this liberation thing isn't so bad.

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From the August 29-September 4, 1996 issue of Metro

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