Equity and parity—fairness of treatment and equal opportunities and representation—took center stage for women business owners just over 30 years ago when the Women’s Business Ownership Act, H.R. 5050, was passed to further the success and impact of women entrepreneurs. It recognized how women could change the entrepreneurial landscape and allowed women, for the very first time, to take out business loans in their own names. This marked the first time, too, that legislation recognized the importance of women entrepreneurs in the national economy, among other firsts.
Trailblazing NAWBO women played a major role in this landmark legislation and since then, we have continued to work to ensure we are powering the voices of the women and small business owners we represent on the issues most critical to their success and growth, as well as equipping them to blaze new trails when it comes to fairness of treatment and equal opportunities and representation.
It’s made a difference in election cycles, including last fall when we successfully reached parity in endorsing an equal number of Republicans and Democrats based solely on their history of business ownership or their voting record demonstrating their consistent support of small business owners. It’s furthered our bi-partisan 2019 public policy agenda that spans issues like Access to Capital, Education and Workforce, Government Contracting and Disparity Studies, International Trade, Regulatory Reform, Taxes and Technology. And it’s led many women business owners to consider and seek city, state and national elected and appointed public servant roles so that the voice of women is equally represented across the board. It was exciting to see the record number of women sworn into Congress alone this past January.
In this issue of NAWBO ONE, with the theme of Equity and Parity, you’ll read about ways we’re working right now to further our goals. We recently announced a new partnership between NAWBO National and UCLA to give our members access to the UCLA Anderson Corporate Governance Program and Women’s Leadership Institute at reduced rates, so they can build and scale their businesses and be considered for board service should they choose.
You’ll also read about our National Advocacy Day and Academy for Public Service that help members power their voices and explore and pursue their own paths into public service. Held June 3 in Washington, D.C., the Academy for Public Service gives NAWBO members access to information and experts in all arenas of public service. Advocacy Day—held June 4, which marks the centennial anniversary of Congress passing the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, giving women the right to vote—will commemorate past milestones, assess where we are today and outline how to pursue accomplishments still to come.
Lastly, we highlight two NAWBO chapters—Kansas City and Iowa—making strides in their advocacy by taking advantage of NAWBO National opportunities, building relationships with local, state and national policymakers and partnering with other local women’s groups. In this issue, chapter leaders talk “takeaways” from recent events they attended.
There are so many opportunities for all of us to work toward our goal of equity and parity for all. I hope you’ll take a moment to consider how you can make an impact in ways small and large as a woman business owner and as part of NAWBO National’s collective voice.