During the past decade, the incidence of women starting businesses dramatically accelerated in the US. A national, representative sample of women (and men) business owners was interviewed by telephone to understand better this phenomenon. This analysis focuses on women business owners who left corporate careers to start their own businesses. Respondents' experiences with corporate “glass ceilings” and “glass walls”, such as lack of flexibility and challenge, lack of role models and mentors, lack of access to line positions with concomitant intrapreneurial opportunities, and failure of organizations to credit and reward women's contributions, are examined. Differences among three age cohorts of women business owners, included in the analysis, portend increased difficulty for companies in retaining talented women professionals and managers, especially those with entrepreneurial interests. Recommendations to companies include identifying and eliminating barriers to women's advancement in the corporate culture and work environment, and development of more intrapreneurial opportunities.
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