WBENC is grateful to work with our Media Partners to help keep our network informed about annual events, special programming, certification, and other resources and opportunities. These partners are a vital to our outreach within the WBENC network and beyond.

Women’s Enterprise Magazine (WE USA), a long time partner to WBENC, was founded in 1992 due to the need for a news source to champion WBEs and the corporations who support them. Since its inception, WE USA has received numerous awards for its work in WBE supplier diversity development.

Read this guest post from Kristin Schneider, Publisher at Women’s Enterprise USA, on hearing women’s voices and how to channel the act to benefit your business.


Do You Really Hear Women?

The concept of hearing is an interesting one. I’m not referring to passive hearing, but active listening — which has rarely happened on a large scale for women throughout history. Too often, women’s voices have been silenced by societal norms, pressure and even laws.

Take U.S. history for example. Women gained and lost the right to vote numerous times between the 1770s and 1920s. It took over 100 of years of rallies, protests and determination to ensure that women’s voices were heard in politics definitively and permanently. It’s only this year that the U.S. is celebrating 100 years of 19th Amendment. And yet, even now, as you look at the top leadership around the world, women are conspicuously underrepresented. As of May 2020, only 19 out of 195 countries in the world were led by women. In the business world, fewer than 40 Fortune 500 companies are led by women.

So, do you truly hear women? My hope is that your answer is a resounding “yes.” Not only is “yes” the right answer morally, but it is the right answer for your business.

Consider this: 83% of all consumer purchasing decisions are directed by women either directly or through influence. A study by Walmart Inc. found that 90% of women are more likely to buy women-owned products. Another study, conducted by Cone Communications, found that 84% of all consumers, regardless of gender, want companies to support women’s rights. Women have incredible power in the marketplace; yet 91% of them think advertisers do not understand them, according to Yankelovich Monitor and Greenfield Online.

What a missed opportunity!

As you prepare for a new year, I challenge you to consider how you are really listening to the women around you. Are you asking pertinent questions about the way they think, what they want and how you can help them? Are you entering conversations without existing assumptions, so you can really hear others? Are you looking for ways to help advance them? Advocates can be any gender, and at the end of the day, the best advocate for a woman is each of us.

I also highly encourage you to head over to WE USA’s From the Experts column. My first act as publisher last year was to launch this how-to column contributed by women business leaders because they have insight and wisdom to share. The idea for this feature originated from conversations I had with women about the importance of having a forum for sharing perspectives and advice using their voices and styles. It is just one way we at WE USA work to advance women entrepreneurs.

As you prepare to go about your day, take a moment to ask, “Do I really hear women?” Women have stories to share, whether they are involved in your day-to-day life or just passing through. Regardless of your gender, if you listen, you will learn something valuable every time!


Women’s Enterprise USA

Women’s Enterprise magazine (WE USA) is the nation’s foremost quarterly print and digital publication supporting Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs) and supply chain inclusion.

WE USA’s mission is to support and promote WBE suppliers as well as celebrate the leading corporations and diversity champions who advance the cause of supplier diversity.

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Author

Kristin Schneider
Publisher at Women’s Enterprise USA

Kristin Schneider is a journalist with extensive experience in communications and business strategy. As Publisher of the Women’s Enterprise magazines and General Manager of Minority Business News, she plays a key role in crafting the growth and development strategies of the magazine group along with expanding digital offerings and content. In the past decade, she has published dozens of articles in national media outlets and spoken at multiple leadership events across the country


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