National Business Women’s Week: As Relevant as Ever
Posted by YWM on October 17, 2011
This week, October 17 – 21 is Business and Professional Women’s Foundation’s National Business Women’s Week® (NBWW), which honors working women and employers who support working women and their families. Established in 1928, NBWW encourages us to call attention to women entrepreneurs, facilitate discussions on the needs of working women, share information about successful workplace policies, and raise awareness of the resources available for working women in their communities.
When Lena Madesin Phillips, President of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, first declared National Business Women’s Week® “to focus public attention upon a better business woman for a better business world,” she acknowledged the challenges that faced America’s working women. She would be gratified to see that today there are 7.2 million majority-owned, privately-held, women-owned businesses in the United States today that employ 7.3 million people and generate $1.1 trillion in sales.
This progress is particularly impressive considering it wasn’t until 1974 that the Equal Credit Opportunity Act guaranteed women access to credit cards and loans. Before this, single women were routinely denied credit, and married women had to take out loans under their husbands’ names. The Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988 not only forged the way for women’s economic independence by making the requirement of a male signature illegal, it created the National Women’s Business Council, the Office of Women’s Business Ownership and planted the seeds for the network of Women’s Business Centers around the country. BPW Foundation supporters were on the front line in the fights to better conditions and open doors for working women.
America’s businesswomen have made remarkable strides in less than half an average woman’s lifetime. But there remains an untenable disparity in economic success between the sexes. To close that gap we must continue to advocate for a level playing field where women are paid fairly for the work they do. We must also equip women with mentoring, education, and training to compete and achieve in the workplace. Armed with the skills to succeed, there is no question that women can make up for lost time!