Since 1997, the number of companies owned by African-American females shot up by 322 percent, far outpacing the growth rate of women owned-businesses in general and making black women the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the US today, according to the 2015 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, commissioned by American Express Open.

The figure reveals the next big step in the struggle for gender equality, observers say. It also represents a nationwide power shift that experts say has been going on for the last 50 years.

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