October 25th marks the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988 in the United States.
“As a result of HR 5050, women entrepreneurs were provided with long overdue access to capital, education and technical assistance offered in a woman’s voice, access to federal policymaking circles, and the undercounting of the number and economic contributions of women-owned businesses were finally addressed,” said Billie Dragoo, Chair and Interim CEO of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO).
“Women are leading the economic recovery in this country by starting more businesses and growing them faster. If we can spur every woman business owner to add just one employee to her company, we will add millions of new jobs and give this economy the jolt of growth it needs,” said Monica Smiley, publisher and CEO of Enterprising Women.
WIPP’s President and Co-Founder, Barbara Kasoff has been a trailblazer in creating a powerful national voice for women entrepreneurs, and training for a women entrepreneurial growth agenda. She added, “We know all too well that our work is not nearly done; and we know all too well that while women are key drivers of economic growth, we continue to face barriers to economic participation and that gap undermines global economic expansion, an important factor in our growth. We are creating partnerships, we are energizing our leaders and we are building a new, more inclusive and robust role for women in our nation.”
“Women business owners today are often shocked to hear about the challenges that their predecessors faced only 25 years ago,” according to Virginia Littlejohn, CEO of Quantum Leaps, Inc. “In an era when many states required a male to co-sign a business loan, one witness who was divorced and didn’t have a husband or father who could be a co-signer had to ask her 17-year old son to co-sign for her – when he couldn’t even vote.”
“As important as all of the elements of the Act have been to women’s enterprise development, I’d argue that providing compelling and myth-busting data and statistics have done more than capital, counseling and community to propel the growth of women-owned businesses forward. Indeed, it has proven to be the fuel that has opened eyes, changed hearts and minds, and allowed us to measure progress and point out continued gaps,” stated Julie Weeks, President and CEO of Womenable,
The next generation of women business owners, and even many women business owners today, don’t realize just how far we’ve come in the past 25 years, and what still remains to be accomplished.
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