Post by Dr. Marsha Firestone, contributing Women On Business writer
March is Women’s History month, a chance for us to look back on all the advancements women have made. Celebrating women’s history began in 1978, as “Women’s History Week.” There was a largely positive response, and as word spread, more and more people started recognizing this week, even in school curriculums. It wasn’t until 1987 that the National Women’s History Project petitioned to Congress in order to have a whole month dedicated to Women’s History.
March has officially become Women’s History Month gaining acknowledgment and appreciation throughout the nation. Specifically, the National Women’s History Project is dedicated to promoting women’s history awareness. Their 2009 theme for March is “Women Taking the Lead to Save our Planet,” honoring women who have taken the lead in the green movement. For more information on The National Women’s History Project, click here.
Women have made huge advancements specifically in the business world. Revenue for women-owned businesses in 2002 was $939 billion, up 15% from 1997. That number has grown even more to $1.9 trillion being generated by the 10.1 million women-owned firms today.
Women are making their presence known in the workforce, not just as employees but leaders as well. Women business owners employ 13 million people and account for 40% of all privately held firms. There are also 1.9 million firms that are majority-owned by women of color in the U.S. These firms grew faster than all privately held firms between 2002 and 2008.*
So, as we reflect on the history of women in the workforce this coming month, there is no doubt that we have come a long way. For example this article from 1943 on hiring women, written for male supervisors of women during World War II, includes “tips on getting more efficiency out of women employees.” As you can see, things have clearly changed. Take some time in March to remember the women who have worked so hard to make it possible for women in business to succeed today, and how we are helping the women business owners of the future!
*All statistics from Center for Women’s Business Research