WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS DAY – NOVEMBER 19th, 2023
Every year on November 19, Women’s Entrepreneurship Day in honor and celebration of female entrepreneurs and to discuss their invaluable contributions to the entrepreneurial community. The first female-owned business in the U.S. was established back in 1739. However, despite all the efforts made by women entrepreneurs since the Industrial Revolution, gender barriers, societal pressure, access to funding and mentorship, and lack of education still constrain their growth. Women Entrepreneur Day is organized by the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Organization (WEDO) and is recognized by the UN and over 120 countries. Pioneering women in various fields are awarded the WEDO Pioneer Awards on this day.
HISTORY OF WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS DAY
Women have been engaged in entrepreneurial ventures for centuries, but since the term ‘entrepreneur’ was exclusive to men, these women were never referred to with the same term. Most women-owned businesses in the 18th and 19th centuries were from inheritance or supplemented personal income.
South Carolina’s Eliza Lucas is an example of a woman who became a business leader by way of inheritance when she took over the family’s plantations when she was just 16 years of age hence going on record as the first woman to own a business in the U.S. Women began to own brothels, alehouses, taverns, and retail stores. Still, these businesses were considered shameful because of the societal perception of what women should and shouldn’t do. However, in the 1900s, perception shifted to the progressive, and feminism became a movement widely accepted, thus allowing people to refer to women in business as female entrepreneurs. Black women became the most enterprising of all in the United States in the early 20th Century as they established themselves in dressmaking, Black hair care, private home domestic work, and midwifery. Madam C.J. Walker, the first African American female millionaire, was one of the most successful women in this era.
In the late 1980s and 1990s, various organizations in the United States were founded and launched to offer education and financing to female entrepreneurs. Such organizations include the Women’s Business Development Center and Count Me In, but still, the women entrepreneurs could not find their equal footing with their male counterparts. Attention and support for female entrepreneurs have increased since 2000, and female-owned businesses now enjoy more access to finance than ever before.
In 2013, Wendy Diamond, after returning to the U.S. from volunteering with the Adelante Foundation in Honduras, started an initiative to empower women in business, now referred to as Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Organization (WEDO) which celebrated the first Women’s Entrepreneurship Day in the U.S. and other 140 countries on November 19, 2014. Since then, the day has been declared official by New York City and Los Angeles and recognized by the House of Representatives and the United Nations.
5 IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES
- New Businesses Daily
In the U.S., women launch up to 1,200 businesses daily
- More Women-owned Businesses
Women own up to 36% of small businesses worldwide.
- Country of Women Entrepreneurs
Ghana is the country that has the highest number of female entrepreneurs in the world, at 46.6%.
- Older Generation
Female entrepreneurs are between 40 and 59 years old.
- In the United States,
Women in the U.S. own up to 42% of all businesses, which translates to 12.3 million businesses.
IMPORTANCE OF WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS DAY
Celebrating Women Entrepreneurs
Women must overcome daily challenges and obstacles to survive and grow in this male-dominated business world. On this day, their efforts and contributions to the economy are celebrated.
Promoting Women Entrepreneurs
Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Organization (WEDO) has programs that empower and encourage women to start businesses.
Focus on Female Entrepreneurs
WEDO hosts the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Organization Pioneer Awards, recognizing female trailblazers and leaders in various life and business categories.