In case you didn’t know, the month of September is National Women’s Small Business Month.
Thus, in honor of this month’s observance, we wanted to take a moment to shine a light on how women pave their own financial paths and generate a lasting impact on our nation’s economy.
After all, it’s not just that S.H.E. Matters today, it’s that she always has and always will.
The History of Women in Business
Recorded history dates the first woman-run business in America all the way back to the 18th Century.
Specifically, in 1739, “Eliza Lucas Pinckney took over operation of the family’s three South Carolina plantations at the age of 16 after her mother’s passing and her father’s return to the West Indies,” As reported by the SBDC National Information Clearinghouse (SBDCNet).
Following, up until the mid-20th Century, most businesses that were run by women were ale houses, clothing shops, and brothels. Primarily, these were only established by women who were unmarried or otherwise without a man who was considered the “traditional breadwinner” at the time.
Thankfully, by the 1920s, the idea of female entrepreneurship became normalized. Thus, in the 1940s, women were more ready to step into the workforce amidst the ongoing war. Even when the men returned and displaced those women, many went on to establish their own businesses and lines of work.
Finally, in 1988, “Congress passed The Women’s Business Ownership Act, which ended discrimination in lending, eliminated state laws that required married women to have a husband’s signature for all loans and gave women-owned businesses a chance to compete for lucrative government contracts,” according to Media Partners Worldwide.
Modern Growth, Modern Numbers
Today, while women continue to face an uphill battle against the glass ceiling, broken rung, and many other phenomena that otherwise hinder their upward mobility in business, there is still reason for celebration.
“In 1972, there were a little over 400,000 women-owned businesses in the United States,” as reported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). “Today, there are over 13 million women-owned businesses and counting.”
What’s more, the U.S. Census reported that, in 2018, “women-owned employer firms reported nearly $1.8 trillion in sales, shipments, receipts or revenue and employed over 10.1 million workers with an annual payroll of $388.1 billion.”
Further, some exciting statistics provided by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) include:
- One in five firms that report their annual revenue of $1 million or more is woman-owned
- 4.2% of all women-owned firms have revenues of $1 million or more.
- 5.4 million firms are majority-owned by women of color in the U.S.
- The aforementioned firms generate an annual $361 billion in revenue
- Those firms also employ 2.1 million people
S.H.E. Matters, and So Does Her Business
At the end of the day, women-owned businesses remain invaluable to our economy, and we hope to see them continue to proliferate as time goes on.
After all, women should not be doubted — and neither should their impact on the workforce.
Further, we would love to highlight some of your favorite locally-owned businesses that are owned and run by women. Please reach out to us or visit our S.H.E. Matters page to send in a submission for our review, and stay tuned here for more information!