As the annual Business Examiner Media Women of Influence event approaches, here is a look at the economic place of women in today’s economy.

It is estimated that there are over 8.6 million women-owned businesses in the United States, generating over $1.3 trillion in revenues and employing nearly 7.8 million people.

Over a 16 year period, 1997-2013, their numbers increased at a rate of 59 percent — 1.5 times the national average. In fact, since the depth of the U.S. recession, the only firms providing a net increase in employment are privately-held women-owned firms and large, publicly traded corporations.

The statistics from Census Bureau data analyzed in a report funded by American Express OPEN found that, despite this astounding growth, women-led businesses still face a unique set of challenges. Women-owned firms only employ 6 percent of the country’s workforce and contribute just under 4 percent of business revenues — roughly the same share they contributed in 1997.

Within this analysis, Washington landed right in the middle of states for women-owned businesses, 25th in terms of overall economic clout. The growth rate here was below average at 32nd out of the 50 states.

The 11th annual Women of Influence event will be next Wednesday, Oct. 2, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at McGavick Conference Center in Lakewood. Details and ticket information is here.