Previous research has found that female-owned businesses generally underperform male-owned businesses on a variety of measures such as revenue, profit, growth, and discontinuance (failure) rates. It has been suggested that this finding might be the result of systematic differences between male- and female-owned businesses, particularly industry differences. This paper analyzes data from a representative sample of 8,3 75 small and medium-sized Australian enterprises that originally were surveyed in 1994-95, with follow-up surveys in each of the subsequent three years for a subsample of businesses. The aim was to determine whether female-owned businesses exhibit higher failure rates than male-owned businesses and, if so, whether this finding persists after controlling for industry differences. The results suggest that while female-owned businesses do have higher failure rates compared to male-owned businesses, the difference is not significant after controlling for the effects of industry.