Unconventional times can create impactful change. Syrian women have begun to be elected as camp leaders in their Lebanese refugee communities. While these women would have been expected to stay at home in their native Syria, the turmoil caused by war has begun to shift some of these traditional norms. One of the female leaders who heads up camp of hundreds of refugees, Hind Al-Haad, stated,”Circumstances can either form obstacles or push [women] forward.” Learn more about these amazing women in this BBC piece.
According to this piece from The Guardian, there has been a marked increase in black women launching their own ventures over the past few years. Some of the increase is attributed to challenges from the pandemic and some to historical gender/race pay disparity in the workplace. That said, the article also shares that black women have a long history of entrepreneurship and the pandemic is forcing the world to recognize that. Per the article, “women of color make up only 39% of women in the US but represent 89% of new women-owned businesses. Within that demographic, Black women are leading the charge at 42% of new women-owned businesses, followed by Latina women at 31%.”
According to this article from Inc., small businesses can look for support from the US Government (via the Small Business Administration) in three areas:
1. Help with securing federal contracts (there will be higher procurement goals for small businesses businesses-especially those run by women, veterans and those located in historically underutilized business zones
2. Added money for resources (allocating additional funds for the agency’s staffing needs may help alleviate some of the customer service and processing glitches the agency encountered during the pandemic)
3. Elevating women-owned businesses (The SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership will now report directly to the Office of the Administrator)
Sallie Krawcheck, one of the highest-ranking women on Wall Street from positions at Bank of America and Citigroup, is the CEO of Ellevest, a digital financial company for women that she co-founded in 2014. In this interview with NPR’s “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal, she shared thoughts on what the COVID pandemic has specifically meant for women’s personal finances.
According to Krawcheck, “if pay is what you bring in, wealth is what you have and keep.” Prior to COVID, women’s wealth was approximately 32 cents to a white man’s dollar – and only one penny if only considering Black women. In this discussion, Krawcheck mentions how this has only become more severe during the pandemic and also shares strategies to close the gender wealth gap.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has partnered with PenFed Foundation to launch its Military “Women Veteran Bootcamp Accelerator”. The six-month long program is designed for women who have 3-5 years of experience in business and are seeking to grow their venture. To learn more about this program and others available to women veteran-owned small businesses, check out the US Department of Veterans Affairs website here.
As part of the launch of Forbes‘ “50 Over 50” list, Vice President Kamala Harris sits down for an exclusive interview with MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski to discuss not evaluating herself based on age, eating ‘No’ for breakfast, working with women-owned small businesses and encouraging women and girls to know their strength. Click here to watch.
Essence recently published a piece with nine resources for black women entrepreneurs. They include grant opportunities, pitch competitions, and crownfunding platforms. Check out this article to learn more.
The US Mint is creating some new designs – featuring women – for the “tails” sides of quarters that will start circulating in January 2022 and run through 2025. The first two honorees have already been chosen: poet Maya Angelou and astronaut Sally Ride.
The other female honorees will be decided by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen – with input from the American public. To read more about the initiative, check out this article from CNN. Want to submit a suggestion for a nominee? Fill out this brief form provided by the National Women’s History Museum.
At the end of February, Rosalind Brewer, who is currently COO at Starbucks, will leave that position to become CEO of drugstore chain Walgreens. Once in this post, she will be the only Black woman currently serving as a Fortune 500 CEO, and just the third Black woman to lead a Fortune 500 firm in history. (There are currently only 37 women in CEO positions at Fortune 500 companies)
According to this CNBC article, during a recent speech, Brewer commented on the reality that many women experience bias and gender discrimination in the workplace. She said that her most critical message to women in business is to “stay steadfast” and know that “your voice matters.”
In this webinar from December 15, 2020, Professor Deborah Streeter had a conversation with Professor Courtney McCluney about the concept of codeswitching and how it affects the everyday realities of marginalized, devalued, and underrepresented employees at work. To view the recording, click this link
Resources mentioned during the discussion included:
- Book: “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo
- Book: “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson
- Book: “The Souls of White Folk” by W.E.B. Du Bois (link to NPR piece discussing book with Ibram X. Kendi)
- Essay: “The Souls of White Folk” by W.E.B. Du Bois (link)
- Publication: From Harvard Business Review – “Advancing Black Leaders” – (available for purchase via this link)
- More information about Professor McCluney and her research can be found on her website or you can follow her on Twitter at @CL_McCluney