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Women represent only 35 percent of startup owners in the U.S., even though 50 percent of college students and 46 percent of the U.S. workforce is female. Women’s startup businesses also “tend to experience less growth and prosperity than do firms started by men,” according to a paper released this week by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. “Overcoming the Gender Gap: Women Entrepreneurs as Economic Drivers” notes that increasing numbers of highly qualified women work in science and technology, industries that frequently birth high-growth startups, says the paper’s author, Lesa Mitchell. But while they have broken through multiple glass ceilings, many women still find that glass “walls” keep them from venturing outside of academia or corporate positions into entrepreneurship. Mitchell spoke about the paper this week with Smart Answers columnist Karen E. Klein; edited excerpts of their conversation follow.
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