Women’s History Month is meant to be a celebration of the often-overlooked contributions of women to culture and society throughout American history. But it is also an opportunity to examine the current state of affairs for women, reflect on the incredible progress that has been made, and re-energize our push towards full equality.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a huge toll on women’s economic progress and small businesses overall, widening existing economic disparities. Here are a few of the challenges women face:
- COVID-19 has driven millions of women out of the workforce. Female workforce participation has already dropped to 57 percent – the lowest level since 1988, according to the National Women’s Law Center. In fact, in December 2020, women accounted for ALL 140,000 jobs lost.
- Working mothers have taken on more of the added childcare responsibilities. In a survey from May and June of 2020, one out of four women who became unemployed during the pandemic reported the job loss was due to a lack of childcare.
- The United Nations issued a report on how women and girls’ lives are changing across the globe due to COVID. Bottom line? The impacts of the pandemic are exacerbated for women and girls across every sphere from health to the economy, security to social protection.
- Women-owned businesses are hurting – a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey found that the number of female business owners who ranked their business’s overall health as “somewhat or very good” fell 13 points during the pandemic.
- Women are more likely than men to own businesses in industries that have been hard-hit by the pandemic.
Because of these challenges, WBENC is honoring Women’s History Month by celebrating the past and focusing on the future – we want to shine a light on the incredible accomplishments of women as entrepreneurs and innovators throughout history, while also acknowledging the immense challenges women face today and plot a more equitable and prosperous path forward.
We are confident women-owned businesses will continue to be an integral part of our economic recovery, filling critical needs in corporate and government supply chains, and showcasing the innovation, grit, and resiliency so typical of women entrepreneurs.
Join us! Here are four ways to celebrate Women’s History Month with a focus on women’s economic empowerment.
1. Join the conversation
The WBENC network is gathering all month long to celebrate Women’s History Month. Join in on important conversations with women entrepreneurs and leaders in diversity and inclusion. You can join at any time this month – register here.
2. Raise your voice
Become a fierce advocate for women’s economic empowerment. Share articles and statistics like the above, serve as an ally in your workplace, and have conversations with friends and colleagues about what you can do to help or support one another. Access our Women’s History Month campaign media kit for statements of support and graphics you can post on social media.
3. Learn and grow
Get insights and inspiration from incredible women entrepreneurs on our Women Who Own It blog series and Women Who Own It Podcast. Subscribe to the podcast to make sure you get notified when season two debuts later this month!
4. Buy Women Owned!
Perhaps the best way you can support women entrepreneurs is to do business with them. As a consumer, that means consciously seeking out products from women-owned businesses. Not sure where to start? Start by subscribing to Women Owned Wednesday, our weekly newsletter showcasing new products from women-owned businesses. Browse our online directory of women-owned businesses certified by WBENC and WEConnect International. And don’t miss the Women Owned Gift Guide, our curated selection of quality gifts from women-owned businesses.
The future is in our hands. Who will be the next female founder success story? What inspiring women leaders will we be celebrating 100 years from now? Join us in supporting women-owned businesses now to ensure a more equitable, diverse, and sustainable future.
For more content and resources all month long, be sure to follow Buy Women Owned on social media and use the hashtag #BuyWomenOwned on your statements of support.