Op-EdAppeared in The Hill on September 11, 2017By Elaine Parker and Carrie Lukas

Support women entrepreneurs with much-needed tax cuts

According to a 2017 report from Rutgers University, the proportion of women voters has exceeded men in every presidential election since 1980. In the most recent 2016 election, women out-voted men by a margin of 4 percent.

The significance of women in U.S. elections is mirrored in other areas as well.

For example, women also outnumber men in higher education. As of the 2017 fall semester, there were 11.5 million females enrolled in college, compared to only 8.9 million men.

Their presence in the world of business and entrepreneurialism follows a similar trend. There are over 10 million female-owned businesses in the U.S. and they employ more than 13 million Americans. These businesses are also responsible for almost $2 trillion of the U.S. gross domestic product — or the value of all goods and services produced in the U.S. over a given year.

On top of the sheer quantity of female entrepreneurs, they are also leaders of major businesses, including well-known companies like General Motors, Oracle, Lockheed Martin, and Pepsi Co.

It’s obvious that women have made huge strides in the past few decades in many areas. However, there is a lot more economic potential to be utilized. When analyzing the labor force participation rate — a key indicator of economic vibrancy — women still fall short of their male counterparts. In recent years the men’s rate has neared 70 percent while the women’s rate sits at roughly 57 percent — a 13 percent gap.

Encouraging more women to join the workforce would have huge economic impacts. You see, as more women decide to become employed or start their own business, they will increase our economic output. As a general rule of thumb, more people working equals more goods and services created. In fact, the World Economic Forum estimates that the percentage growth rate for U.S. GDP would hit double digits — compared to the current rate of 2.6 percent — if more women entered the labor force and the economic gender gap ceased to exist.

While it is highly unlikely that the gap will disappear completely — because many women decide to forgo work for very worthy reasons, like taking care of young children or aging parents — even small increases in women’s labor force participation would have positive economic effects.

How can we encourage more women to seek jobs and women entrepreneurs to expand their businesses? The answer is simple: Cut taxes for the job creators and entrepreneurs who have been struggling under federal tax rates that can reach 40 percent.

Allowing small business owners — many of whom are women — to keep more of their own money to invest back into their businesses and employees would lead to sustained economic growth for years to come. In fact, according to a recent nationwide poll of small business owners, a majority of respondents reported financial savings from tax cuts would be invested back into their businesses. This means giving more people job opportunities, raising wages, and expanding to new locations.

Women have fought fiercely for decades to achieve equality in the political, social, and educational spheres and now they have the opportunity to showcase their contributions to the U.S. economy.

That’s why we urge Congress to pass tax cuts for small businesses and hardworking taxpayers that will provide female entrepreneurs with the opportunity to grow their businesses and expand their economic footprint — which will lead to greater economic prosperity for all Americans.

Carrie Lukas is president of the Independent Women’s Forum and author of “Liberty is No War on Women.” Elaine Parker is the president of the Job Creators Network Foundation.