National Business Women’s Week® is celebrated every year during the third week of October. It provides a valuable opportunity to recognize and honor working women, and employers who support working women and their families. For nearly a century now, this celebration has helped to promote leadership roles for women and to increase opportunities for personal and professional growth.
National Business Women’s Week originated with Emma Dot Partridge, Executive Secretary of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, and was first observed in 1928. President Herbert Hoover was the first president to issue a letter recognizing National Business Women’s Week® in 1932.
To this day, it is used to call attention to women entrepreneurs, facilitate discussions on the needs of working women, share information about workplace policies, and raise awareness of resources.
Additionally, the entire month of October is National Women’s Small Business Month. It is a time to recognize the myriad achievements of female entrepreneurs and their positive impact on the economy of our country.
Here are 5 easy ways to celebrate working women and women-owned businesses this month.
- Educate yourself. It’s hard to support the working women and women-owned businesses in your community when you know nothing about them. Here are a few basic facts related to working women in the United States:
- Women make up nearly half the labor force. (Catalyst)
- There are more than 11.6 million women-owned firms in the US, which employ nearly 9 million people, and generate $1.7 trillion in sales. (NAWBO)
- In the past 5 years alone, the number of women-owned businesses has grown 21%, while the total number of businesses increased by only 9% (American Express)
This 2019 report by American Express contains a lot of important statistics related to women-owned businesses in the United States.
Another great way to educate yourself is to read books written by working women and female entrepreneurs. Try one of these:
- Shark Tales: How I Turned $1000 into a Billion Dollar Business by Barbara Corcoran
- #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
- Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
- Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
- Mistakes I Made at Work: 25 Influential Women Reflect on What They Got Out of Getting It Wrong by Jessica Bacal
- Show your support by patronizing women-owned businesses. Give your vote of confidence with your dollars, and make an effort to purchase goods or services from women-owned businesses. Many of these businesses are certified by WBENC, and can be identified by their use of the WBENC logo.
- Tell your friends. If money is a little tight in your household, you can also support female entrepreneurs through word-of-mouth marketing. If you love a product or service provided by women-owned business, tell your friends about it! Share posts by female entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses on social media. Exposure can be great for ensuring a business’ success.
- Join an organization or professional women’s association. The American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) and National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) are just two examples of associations that offer networking opportunities, educational resources, and support for working women. As a member of a professional organization or association, you’ll be exposed to a diverse range of voices and experiences that will help you to grow both personally and professionally.
- Become a Mentor. You may not believe you’re advanced enough in your career to be a mentor, but let’s face it: women have the power to open doors for other women, and more than likely, there’s always going to be someone a step behind you. It doesn’t matter if you’re a successful CEO or a small business owner working part-time, your voice could make a difference in someone else’s life and/or career.
As women all over the country fight for gender equality, it’s important to take time to reflect on how you can make difference. Awareness, visibility, and action are all equally important in the fight to close the gender gap in business.