As you likely know, March is Women’s History Month in the U.S. (and many other countries in the world, in line with International Women’s Day on March 8). We think one of the most interesting and exciting aspects of women’s history is the history of women in business. While the story is one of struggle—a struggle that continues today—it is also a story that highlights the human power to succeed against all odds and the truly amazing strength of the women that have forged a path to prosperity for themselves, their families, and their communities.
There’s a great synopsis of the history of female entrepreneurs here, at the National Women’s History Museum website. In the 19th century, woman-owned businesses were a much less common sight in America, generally restricted to small enterprises like retail stores, taverns, and inns. These businesses were often left to a woman after the death of a husband or father. The Progressive Era saw the beginning of a period of transformation that would extend to the present day. Central to this change was the increase in support services and communities for women business owners, like the Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, started in 1919.
Today there are even more resources available for women starting their own businesses. The Small Business Administration has set up this page to centralize their resources for female entrepreneurs. The SBA also runs over 100 education centers across the country ready to help women start and manage their own businesses. The private sector has joined in, too. Goldman Sachs released research showing women make the best investments and has implemented the 10,000 Women program to help women across the world access education in business and management.
More progress is yet to be made: women are still often underpaid in the workforce and underrepresented on executive teams, for example. However, the advancement made by female entrepreneurs in the last century is something we can be proud of. Today, women run some of the most exciting businesses in the world, even in industries (like tech) that have historically been even more male-dominated than most.
At MasterPlans, we focus more on women’s futures than women’s history. 54% of our clients and over half of our staff are women, and we’re devoted to helping female entrepreneurs find success. So let’s make March not only a month when we look back at the women who have made the world thrive, but also look forward to the successes yet to come. And if you want MasterPlans to aide you in making this month monumental in your personal women’s history, know that we’re here to help.