Main Street Monday – Coronavirus Pandemic Disproportionately Affects Female-Owned Small Businesses

September 21, 2020

By: Caity Roach

Contributing Editor, Main Street Monday

Main Street Monday – Coronavirus Pandemic Disproportionately Affects Female-Owned Small Businesses

A recent study conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce shows women-owned small businesses have been more heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic than male-owned small businesses. Since the pandemic started, woman-owned small businesses have reported a 21.6% decline in business health while men-owned businesses have reported just a 7.4% decline. 

Here are some of the other key findings from the Chamber of Commerce’s study:

  • Although male-owned small businesses have seen a decrease in overall business health, 62% still rate their business’ health as “good.” In contrast, only 60% of women-owned small businesses rated their business’ health as “good” prior to the pandemic (now 47%).


  • Male-owned small businesses reporting an increase in staffing grew eight points since the start of the pandemic (from 17% in Q1 2020 to 25% in July), while female-owned small businesses reporting an increase in hiring remained statistically unchanged (from 18% in Q1 to 15% in July, a difference of three points).  


  • 59% of male-owned small businesses said they expect next year’s revenue to increase in Q1 and that figure remained statistically the same in July (57%). Similarly, 63% of female-owned small businesses reported in Q1 that they expected revenues to increase in the coming year. However, the percent of women-owned businesses reporting the same expectation fell 14 points in July to 49%.


  • Female-owned small businesses showed no change in future investment plans for the coming year from Q1 to July (remained at 32%). Meanwhile, their male counterparts saw an 11% jump in planning increased investments over the same period (from 28% in Q1 to 39% in July).   

Although the Chamber of Commerce’s study did not address a reason for the discrepancy, one possible explanation may be that the type of businesses owned by women were hit harder by the coronavirus’ economic effects. According to a study conducted by Guidant Financial, the top two industries for women-owned businesses are retail (16%) and health and beauty services (13%). Both of which have been heavily impacted by stay at home orders and rapidly changing customer shopping behaviors.

Chamber of Commerce
Guidant Financial