Starting a business is one of the biggest roller coaster rides anyone can voluntarily go on, from both an emotional and financial perspective. However, every year, thousands of people decide to take the plunge. One of the most important parts to starting a business is access to capital, but it has recently become apparent that equal access to that capital simply does not exist. What gives?

“Angel” investors (quite the misnomer!). Investors that back start-ups are more likely to lend to attractive men. Even when two individuals have the exact same business plan, the man will receive funding before the woman will. When you look at the numbers, the figures are staggering and sobering – fewer than 7% of venture capital funds go to companies founded by women.

Despite these disparities, 30% of business based in the U.S. are owned by women. More importantly, those businesses are growing at 5 times the national average! So, why are women especially handicapped when it comes to accessing the necessary capital to sustain and grow a business when they are demonstrably successful?

As Suzanne McGee points out, “gender has a dramatic impact on both access to loans and the size of the credit line a bank will grant to a small business owner. Not surprisingly, so does race.” However, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a relatively recently founded federal agency, is starting to shift its focus to these areas.

It’s about time! 28 years ago Reagan signed into law a bill that made it possible for women to obtain a loan without a man’s signature, as many states had previously required. The numbers prove that women can be and are just as successful as men, even when not given access to the same funding. Can you imagine how much the marketplace would change if there were truly equal opportunities?