Women-owned businesses with revenues over $1 million increased 46 percent compared to 12 percent for all U.S. businesses in the last decade--an impressive feat were it not for the fact that these businesses make up only 1.7 percent of all women-owned firms

The stats are part of the latest annual State of Women-Owned Businesses report, commissioned by American Express, which also found that women own 12.3 million businesses in 2018, or 40 percent overall. The report also estimates that women are starting about 1,821 new U.S. businesses per day, a significant uptick from an average of 952 between 2012 and 2017. The overall number of women-owned businesses have surged 3,000 percent since 1972. Though, before 1988, women needed a male co-signor to apply for bank loans, thus limiting access to capital for would-be female entrepreneurs.

Times have no doubt changed for the better. Today, there are many firms and resources committed to helping women founders start up. There's Arlan Hamilton's $36 million fund for black women entrepreneurs, female-focused venture capital firms like Female Founders Fund, and a myriad of other organizations and nonprofits.

A closer look at the numbers, however, reveals that women entrepreneurs still have far to go. It is true, for instance, that women lead 4 in 10 businesses in the U.S., but most are actually one-woman shows, according to the analysis. Their ventures make up about 8 percent of all employment and account for only 4.3 percent of total revenues. Women founders who apply for bank loans also receive about 45 percent less money than their male peers, according to a different study released earlier this year by Biz2Credit.