March is Women’s History Month. I thought it would be interesting to look at women entrepreneurs through time and what stumbling blocks they had to overcome.
Early 1900’s women were thought to be too frail to be business owners. Such delicate creatures!
During the great depression some women opened their own business to survive. If a woman took a position as an employee, they were looked down on because they were taking a position away from a man.
During World War II, many women took over numerous jobs so the men could go to war. How valiant of them! However, once the war ended, they were quickly replace by the returning men.
Many women opened their own business and it is estimated that the number of women owned business grew to nearly one million by 1950. The problem was, many men wouldn’t conduct business with a woman and banks wouldn’t loan money to them.
Some women opened their own credit unions in order to increase the capital available to female entrepreneurs, but it wasn’t until the 1980’s that lending discrimination was finally ended. At this time, women owned 25% of all US companies. I guess the politicians realized there was a lot of power being held by these women and they had better pay attention!
Things are very different today. Opportunities are greater than ever. According to the US Census, in 2012 women owned business had increased 26.8% from 2007, with receipts over 229.2 billion dollars. Now that is some growth and some hefty dollars being exchanged.
Oh yes, we’ve come a long way, and I say thank you to those who forged ahead and paved my way. We’ve gone from ‘being too frail’ to being leaders in small business. Let’s keep this legacy growing!