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Five Reasons to Support Local Women-Owned Businesses
Written by Ally Jokyl, EWI Fall 2020 Intern
My favorite way to spend a rainy afternoon is by exploring the shelves of an independent bookstore. I love discovering new topics and getting recommendations from the owner. Others escape the weather with a coffee at their favorite coffee shop or browsing clothes at a local boutique. The results are the same however we escape the rain—when we shop local, our money stays in the community. The bookstore owner pays her rent when I buy the newest fantasy novel; the barista enrolls his child in art lessons when people buy coffee. Organizations like Empowered Women International, a program of Latino Economic Development Center, support and promote local businesses. Women entrepreneurs, especially women of color and women from under-served communities, face challenges as small business owners. Here are five reasons to support local women-owned businesses this holiday season!
- Help Close the Wage Gap
Women-owned businesses represent 42% of all businesses, employ 9.4 million workers, and generate revenue of $1.9 trillion. However, in 2018 females earned 81.6 cents for every dollar a male earned. Women face employment discrimination and have to work more hours than men to provide for their families. The wage gap is greater for women of color as they face discrimination based on race, religion, education, and language abilities, among other things. Women choose entrepreneurship to take control of their financial situations and overcome discrimination.
- Empower Mothers and Underprivileged Women
Part-time entrepreneurship (or ‘sidepreneurship’) offers women with unpaid caregiving or other family responsibilities the flexibility of setting their own hours. Underprivileged women may supplement their incomes if they face employment discrimination. Part-time women entrepreneurship grew 39% between 2014 and 2019. Don’t overlook local part-time entrepreneurs when considering how to support local business owners. Income from these micro-enterprises directly supports families in your community.
- Elevate Women of Color
Women of color account for half of all women-owned businesses, but there is a revenue gap between minority-women owned businesses and white-women owned businesses. In 2019, minority-woman owned businesses averaged less than half of the revenue of white-women owned businesses. Support from individuals and organizations elevates women of color to financial independence. Furthermore, four million new jobs and $981 billion in revenue would be added to the US economy if there was revenue parity between minority and white women-owned firms.
- Improve Women’s Financial Position
In 2017, women were 38 times more likely to live in poverty than men, and over a third of families headed by unmarried mothers lived in poverty. Thriving companies improve the financial position of women owners and pay the wages of employees. These are local women who spend this money in the community to improve their lives and the lives of their families. They can spend their money on nutritious meals, education and extracurriculars, and on supporting other local business owners.
- Fund Business Growth
Women, especially women of color, have less access to funding and investment for their businesses. A 2014 study found that women entrepreneurs received only 4% of all small business loans. They also face challenges in accessing business training and counseling. Supporting local women entrepreneurs allows them to reinvest in their businesses and training. Women entrepreneurs and small businesses use this money to expand their businesses which in turn promises further financial security, community involvement, and economic impact.
We hope you will join us in shopping local and supporting women-owned small businesses this holiday season!
Sources: American Express
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