Anybody still questioning the significance of women-owned businesses in the U.S. should read a new study by the National Foundation for Women Business Owners that's based on Census Bureau data and the group's own surveys. The growth of women-owned companies from 1987 to 1996 continued to outpace that of all businesses by a 2-to-1 margin. Now, they write more than a quarter of the nation's paychecks. Here's a snapshot:

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