We know the number of female entrepreneurs is growing. But the one thing that isn’t growing, a recent study shows, is their bank accounts. In fact, male business owners pay themselves an average of $17,400 a year more than their female counterparts.
This staggering difference only occurs, however, when women pay themselves a set salary. According to the 2016 American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor study, women business owners are less likely to take a salary than their male peers, with just 42 percent of them paying themselves compared with 57 percent of men. That’s even less than last year, when 50 percent of women entrepreneurs paid themselves a salary.
But there is good news: Though fewer women business owners are paying themselves, those who do are upping their own salaries. On average, female entrepreneurs are earning $63,590 this year—a $930 increase from last year.
Unfortunately, the study doesn’t attempt to explain why women are paying themselves less—and less often. In fact, it gives reasons why women should be more comfortable paying up when it comes to their own salaries. Seventy-six percent of women—compared with 74 percent of men—plan to grow their businesses this year, and they’re less likely than men—33 percent compared with 39 percent—to expect cash flow issues over the next six months.