In 1992 woman-owned businesses for the first time employed more of the U.S. population than the Fortune 500.

A new study of young retail companies in Minnesota and Pennsylvania found that 41% of the woman-owned businesses had gone out of business after six years, while only 26% of the male-owned ones had.

According to the U.S. Census in 1987, there were 49 metropolitan areas where woman-owned businesses had sales of more than $1 billion.

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"I really did not relish a life of housework and dishes and I thought 'why don't I get a little part-time job?' ... Later on I found out I really didn't want to do any of [the household chores]; business was more fun.... I was a mother but I was a businessperson, too. In this country, it's very tough. I think people disapprove of you having other people [help] raise your children. I happen to think... someone not emotionally involved with your children can probably do a better job at it."

-- Lillian Vernon, chairman and CEO of Lillian Vernon Corp., a mail-order company she founded in 1951. The company had 1993 sales of $173 million.

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