Women are the majority owners in 30% of all privately held firms in the United States. These firms have $2.5 trillion in revenues and employ 19.1 million individuals. However, despite the large number of women business owners, little is known about the motivations that women have for starting their own firms. This study uses an expectancy theory framework to examine the differences in motivations to start a firm between men and women. Our findings indicate that there are significant differences in motivations for starting a new business, with men being motivated by financial gains, self-realization and autonomy where for women status is a significant motivating factor. Implications are discussed.