33 is New Mexico’s rank for growth in the number of women-owned firms between 1997 and 2011, according to a March 31 study sponsored by American Express.

$0.57 is how much women earn for every dollar earned by men in Los Alamos County, which has the state’s widest wage gap, according to the New Mexico Commission on the Status of Women

" When you are mistress of your own fate, the sky’s the limit in terms of how you can grow your business in terms of size, revenue and employment—but it also gives you more control over your time and destiny and greater satisfaction."—Julie Weeks, American Express OPEN research adviser and author of the March 31 report

Since 1997, the number of women-owned firms in the US has grown at 1.5 times the national average and twice the rate of men-owned companies. In two improbable industries, construction and mining, growth in employment and revenues of women-owned businesses has outpaced growth in the rest of the sector.

It's not all rosy, though. A March 31 report by American Express OPEN also finds that growth within women-owned firms is less robust.

Still, Julie Weeks, the report's author, says more and more women are entering—and moving up in—the workforce.

And according to one Santa Fe business owner, that's a good thing.

Piper Leigh, the founder of Comunica, a consulting firm with a focus in collaborative learning and communication, says women are "more comfortable with ambiguity, more comfortable in complexity."

As a result, Leigh says, they approach problems differently—which only benefits the workforce.

"We come from an old leadership model, which is that you have to know all the answers—you have to know the way—and if you don't, you look weak," Leigh says. In women, she says, "There's this ability to say, 'Let's look at the whole picture and invite multiple views to better inform everyone. That's what we desperately need."

Weeks says states that provide economic resources specifically targeted to help women start and maintain their own businesses reap the benefits of a more diverse economy—and that those resources usually exist in states that are “more gender-aware generally.”