Fewer than one in seven women-owned small businesses offer employees an employee-funded retirement plan, a new report reveals.

Nationwide Financial published this finding in a summary of results from an August online survey of 501 U.S. small business owners with 1-100 employees and 202 women small business owners. The survey results are weighted to be representative of U.S. companies with 1 to 100 employees.

The survey finds that only 14 percent of women-owned small businesses currently offer their employees a 401(k) or other employee-funded retirement plan. And only 5 percent offer a company-funded defined benefit plan. Of those who plan to enhance employee benefits, the report adds, only 12 percent say they will add an employee-funded retirement plan.

The survey also finds that women owners who offer a self-funded retirement plan are less likely to offer an employee funded 401(k) than the general sample of small business owners surveyed (46 percent vs. 59 percent). But they are more likely than not to offer a SEP, with 39 percent doing so compared to 34 percent of all owners.

Anne Arvia, president of Nationwide Retirement Plans, cites business owners’ uncertainty as to the direction and impact of the economy as a key reason why women small business owners are refraining from investing in employee benefits.

The report notes, however, that nearly two in three (65 percent) women small business owners are unaware that some retirement plans do not require employers to match employee contributions.

The report adds that eight in 10 (81 percent) agree that the lack of preparation for retirement in America has reached crisis levels. And nearly half (45 percent) say that offering retirement plans would help them attract qualified workers.

But 69 percent say their businesses are too small to offer retirement plans. And over half (53 percent) say doing so is too expensive.

The report further notes that three-quarters (74 percent) of women small business owners expect the economy to negatively impact their business in 2012. Just one in five (22 percent) believe the economy will improve. And one third (34 percent) expect their sales and revenue to decline.

The report adds that about a third of women small business owners plan to cut back on hiring (37 percent) and eliminate or delay raises (31 percent) or bonuses (30 percent) within the next 12-24 months.

Additionally, nearly one in five (17 percent) fear they will be forced to lay off employees and only 11 percent plan to add or enhance benefits in the next two years.