Female entrepreneurs are still fighting the good fight when it comes to equality across key industries, but their progress so far is impressive.

By Amy Myles (Editorial Assistant, Women 2.0)

Let’s be clear: we know there’s a long way to go before gender equality’s a reality. We know that attitudes can take years to evolve, and that there are stats that (literally) make us want to weep.

Did you know that in 1974, banks could refuse women a small business loan if they didn’t have a male cosigner?

Absolutely true.

The good news is that things have (thankfully) moved on. The rise of the female entrepreneur over the past fifty years has been both impressive and inspiring.

Despite all the challenges female founders are facing, they are increasing in number year on year, creating countless new work opportunities for others. They’re also proving more creditworthy than their male counterparts.

The infographic below, from 2012, shows just how far things have moved forward. If the next half century proves as pro-active and productive as the last one, one thing is certain: there’s going to be plenty to celebrate.

The Rise of the Female Entrepreneur

This infographic originally appeared on OnlineBusinessDegree.org.

Were you the first female entrepreneur in your family?