Guest Editorial by Assemblyman Angelo Morinello
October is National Women's Small Business Month, which means it's time to celebrate the determination, drive and success of women-owned businesses everywhere, while recognizing the obstacles and challenges these female entrepreneurs have had to overcome.
Women in America have continually faced opposition to excel and break through glass ceilings. Following the near century-long women's suffrage movement and passage of the 19th Amendment, it was clear there was progression, but the rate at which it was occurring and the challenges that remained were daunting. Yet generation after generation of women persevered despite the odds and playing field stacked against them to create a better future.
In 1972, women only owned 4.6% of all businesses in the U.S. and, until 1988, in some states women needed a male relative to cosign business loans. Today, women own over 42% of all businesses and there are nearly 13 million women-owned businesses in the US, employing 9.4 million workers and generating revenue of $1.9 trillion.
Women are starting businesses at a rate double the national average, with women of color comprising the majority, making them the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs. In the last five years alone, women-owned businesses grew 21% and businesses owned by women of color grew at double that rate. Numbers for black women entrepreneurs grew the fastest, with an increase of 50%. In fact, as of 2021, women of color accounted for 50% of all women who owned businesses.
The grit, resolve and character of these entrepreneurs is why, each October, we celebrate the milestones they’ve surpassed and honor the hard work of women across the country through National Women's Small Business Month.
However, gender and race-based discrimination, the gender wage gap and lingering disparities in revenue prove we still have work to do. I will continue to support and recognize the tremendous accomplishments of our women small business owners, and we salute them all here in the 145th Assembly District, New York and the US.
Morinello represents the 145th Assembly District, which consists of parts of Erie and Niagara counties. For more information, visit his official website.