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National Archives

Museum Happenings...........................3 Feature: Women in Business............5 CS: Finding Inspiration..........................9 Biographies.........................................11 CS: Pursuing Equality..........................15 #WeHearYou.......................................18


Women in Business

Looking for a unique gift for a family member, a friend or someone special this holiday season? Give a gift that will keep on giving all year long — while helping a worthy cause and helping to bring women’s amazing and untold history to life! A NWHM gift membership is a truly meaningful gift. Depending on the level of your tax-deductible gift membership donation, your recipient will receive: NWHM’s quarterly newsletter, “A Different Point of View” which is filled with biographies, stories of trail-blazing women in different genres, new exciting programs NWHM is working on and much, much more A personalized Certificate recognizing them as a Charter Member A NWHM Membership Card


For gift memberships of $50 or more, your recipient will receive all the above plus a “Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History” button


Women in Fashion

For gift memberships of $100 or more, your recipient will receive all the above plus a silver “NWHM” pin to wear so that any time NWHM’s President and Board see them when they are wearing their pin, they know your recipient is a “Cornerstone Member” and can acknowledge them accordingly Their name will be recognized in NWHM’s physical Museum once we have our permanent site

Photo Credit:

Library of


Women and



Access to NWHM’s “Members Only” section on our website where they can read and get inside information and updates on additional things happening at the Museum they can’t get elsewhere So why wait until the holiday rush? Avoid the massive crowds hunting for that unique gift — give a NWHM gift membership instead! Go online today and sign up for as many gift memberships as you’d like. We will make sure each person you list receives their special gift membership on or very close to the holidays. Festive holiday gift memberships are available via this link,, or you are welcome to call NWHM at (703) 461-1920 (ext. 110). Our staff is happy to help you process your tax‑deductible memberships.

A Message From NWHM President Joan Wages Dear Friends, Can you believe we are already at the end of 2016? Where has the time gone? This has been an extremely busy and exciting year for the National Women’s History Museum. Just a few weeks ago, the Congressional Commission submitted its recommendations to Congress to build a national women’s history museum on the National Mall. Since then, we have been working diligently with our congressional sponsors in the House and Senate to garner the support needed to ensure the Museum takes its place among the other great museums in Washington, DC. As many of you know, this has been a long journey, but we are closer to our goal than ever before. We appreciate each of you, and your support, which has been crucial to getting us this far. And let us not forget the women who made history in politics during the 2016 election. For many years, women have run for president of the United States, but only one succeeded as the presidential nominee for a major political party, Hillary Rodham Clinton. We’ve highlighted her and other political trailblazers in this edition. Meanwhile, we also premiered new online exhibits and increased subscribers to our email newsletter, which has become quite popular among many of our supporters. Each issue has information about women who challenged the status quo and offered a key voice in the nation’s development. You can sign up for the e-newsletter by visiting our website: email-newsletter-signup. Our program department debuted five new exhibits this year, covering a range of topics from sports and civil rights to fashion and women’s role in peace and conflict. We believe that America deserves a women’s history museum, but in the meantime, we are committed to increasing awareness about the role of women in our nation’s history. Our exhibits, social media presence, this publication and monthly e-newsletter are key to teaching about the roles of women in our history and integrating women’s voices into our national narrative. We know how important women’s voices are to having an inclusive and diverse conversation. In this issue, we focus on an industry where women remain significantly underrepresented: business. An article from the president of the National Association of Women Business Owners highlights the challenge that women face running their own businesses and where they can find support. We also have a personal testimony from a woman in the business world, specifically the male dominated tech world, who is helping to build a pipeline to bring more women into the technology field. I hope you enjoy learning about how women are breaking barriers in the business world and bringing other women along. To stay updated in real time on NWHM efforts, connect with us on Facebook, and on Twitter at @womenshistory. Respectfully,

Joan Bradley Wages

NWHM Receives Grant to Rebuild Website The National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) was awarded a $370,000 grant from the PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc. (the Foundation) in support of the Museum’s educational and programming efforts. The funding supports a redesign and relaunch of the NWHM website with advanced content capabilities for 21st century interactive learning and optimized content for mobile devices. The grant will be distributed over two years. PwC LLP will complement the Foundation’s grant with pro bono technical advice and support. The pro bono engagement team will advise the investment in new interactive content, bringing considerable user experience, and knowledge to optimize the platform. NWHM is the nation’s largest online cultural institution dedicated to women’s history, both past and present, and its online presence is critical to serving its mission and stakeholder community. The new website will feature optimized, virtual exhibits that are mobilefriendly, and increase NWHM’s reach by 35 percent in the first two years of launch. Efficiencies, cost savings, and additional staff capacity will allow for more efficient content management and data capture that will improve the organization’s ability to make more data-driven decisions, and maximize its impact well beyond the two-year grant period. NWHM plans to launch the website summer 2017.

Commission Submits Museum Report to Congress The Congressional Commission on an American Museum of Women’s History submitted its report to Congress recommending a national women’s history museum in a prominent location on the National Mall in Washington, DC. We greatly appreciate the Commission’s hard work and bipartisan support and are proud to have worked collaboratively with them over the past 18 months to ensure the Museum takes its place among other great museums in Washington, DC. We look forward to continuing to work with the commissioners, Congress, our national charter members and all our stakeholders to make the museum a reality as soon as possible. 3

Fashion Exhibit NWHM launched a new exhibit on Women and Fashion in November, that is now viewable on its website. The exhibit highlights the role of innovations like the sewing machine, paper patterns and the rise of home economics in defining women’s access to fashion – not just clothing. The exhibit discusses how the sewing machine, fashion magazines, catalogs and department stores brought fashion awareness in the 19th century to increasingly larger audiences up and down the economic ladder. By the turn of the 20th century, fashion as a lifestyle choice permeated American culture. Technology democratized fashion. To view the exhibit, visit and select online exhibits.

NWHM Launches Ask A Museum Educator Series In the spring, the NWHM will launch its Ask A Museum Educator Series. The educational program brings history to life by offering 15-minute web-based discussions for students and teachers on a history topic. Teachers can sign up for 15-minute slots and have their students interact with a museum expert about that topic. The themes for the discussions are Women and Civil Rights, which will be held in February during Black History Month and Women in STEM, scheduled for March during Women’s History Month. To learn more about available dates and slots or to share with an educator, visit


This was a history-making election for women. While the United States did not elect its first female president, Hillary Rodham Clinton1 made history as the first female presidential candidate of a major political party. Clinton, as the candidate for the Democratic Party, clinched a significant place in American history. In addition, Kellyanne Conway2, campaign manager for the president-elect, made history as the first woman to lead a successful presidential bid. In Congress, the 115th Congress will welcome its most diverse class of women legislators. Three women of color were elected to the Senate including Kamala Harris3 of California who is of Black and South Asian descent; Catherine Cortez-Masto4 from Nevada, the first Latina to serve in the Senate and the first woman to represent the state; and Tammy Duckworth5 of Illinois, a veteran and Asian Pacific Islander. The addition of these women rises the total count of women of color in the U.S. Senate to four.






The Rise of the

Woman Entrepreneur in the Postwar Era By Dr. Debra Michals, PhD.


omen entrepreneurs are a fact of U.S. economic life in the new millennium. According to the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), women own more than 9.1 million businesses — 31% of all small businesses nationwide—and women’s ventures generate approximately $1.4 trillion in sales. Those figures have been growing steadily in recent decades, and today women not only feel free to become entrepreneurs, but they are often applauded publicly and in media for their efforts. Historians, however, know that such acceptance of women’s business efforts was not always the case. While women throughout American history have turned to money-making ventures as a way to extend family financial resources or to survive independently, the notion of women in business was often met with resistance, leading women to represent their ventures as supplemental or an act of exigency. But the post-World War II era changed all that. The years after the war saw a dramatic surge in the number of women-owned businesses, due partly to government and other programs designed to help women launch businesses as well as to media coverage promoting these endeavors. In fact, the postwar era marks the moment when the state first sanctioned business ownership as a legitimate economic role and identity for women. Contrary to popular conceptions of the postwar period, public ideology and government efforts did not simply encourage women out of the workforce and back to hearth and home at war’s end. Rather, concerns about single mothers and the desire to continue the economic prosperity triggered by the nation’s entry into World War II converged to facilitate and legitimate women’s movement into small business ownership. State and national governments, as well as women’s organizations, not only ran programs to encourage women to launch ventures but also spoke of these businesses as vital contributors to rebuilding the country’s economy. Their efforts moved countless women into business ownership and transformed women’s relationship to the economy and entrepreneurship in enduring ways. Leading the effort to encourage women to start businesses in the post-World War II era was Jane Todd, New York State’s first female Deputy Commerce Commissioner, who marshalled the support of the National Business and Professional Women’s Clubs and prominent women entrepreneurs such as Elizabeth Arden. As deputy commissioner, Todd headed a newly-created division – The Women’s Program – launched to help women establish careers and/or small businesses. A longtime Republican committeewoman and politician, Todd had owned a kitchen business in her late teens and twenties to help support her siblings after her mother died. As such, she increasingly focused the Women’s Program on the potential of small business ownership. New York Governor Thomas Dewey wanted


Members of the Business and Professional Women’s Club in 1929. Library of Congress

to reestablish the 100,000 small businesses that had closed during the war. But Todd understood that small or home-based businesses would not only help rebuild those numbers, they would also address the joint economic and familial burdens of married women whose husbands either did not return from battle or returned too injured to work. As many as six million women were single mothers or sole heads of households in the mid-1940s, and they needed an income. In many ways, business ownership – which was often home-based or centered on commercializing domestic skills – posed less of a threat to traditional notions of gender roles than the images of mothers working in factories. Dewey and his staff urged women to see the home as an untapped reservoir of potential business ideas, such as decorating services, catering, food production, and apparel manufacturing. The Women’s Program ran a series of small business clinics across the state throughout the latter 1940s and 1950s, where women could bring product samples to be reviewed for marketability by business experts — many of them female. Women, such as Elizabeth Arden, who had launched companies in the era of the 1910s and ‘20s New Woman, were counselors. Held in conference halls, the clinics featured displays of ideas for products or services women could develop into businesses, with an emphasis on home-baked goods, handicrafts and clothing, or baby-sitting agencies. There were tables offering free pamphlets from the Women’s Program, the U.S. Commerce Department and other agencies. The New York program relied on its Woman’s Council of 32 leading businesswomen volunteers who would meet individually with clinic attendees to outline the nuts and bolts of turning an idea into a business. The Women’s Program also advised women nationwide by phone. Women who found themselves alone, did indeed regard business as a way out of financial crisis. In 1959, Louise Williamson received an award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as one of the “Great Living Americans,” honored for turning tragedy into triumph when in 1948 she found herself alone with no means of support. She set up Lou’s Candy Kitchen next to her home, and grew her business to national acclaim. As National Business Woman magazine noted, “She set about in the good old American way to make a place for herself in this nation’s business life.”

Prominent businesswoman Elizabeth Arden.

Lou’s Candy Kitchen Photo Credit: Preservation in Mississippi Professional Women of NASA, 1978. National Archives.

The Federation of Business and Professional 6

Women’s Clubs (BPW) helped to spread Todd’s Women’s Program model across the country. In its member magazine, Independent Woman, the BPW gave Todd a forum to advocate for these programs, including step-by-step instructions for setting up a Women’s Program in other states. From 1945 through the mid-1950s, as many as twenty states adopted variations on the New York model. By 1951, BPW members in Ohio, Arizona, Oklahoma, Kentucky, South Dakota and Minnesota had made inroads into establishing women’s divisions within their state commerce departments. And frequent articles in national magazines promoting the Women’s Programs and small business clinics furthered their popularity and women’s growing acceptance as business owners. By the late 1940s, government leaders, including Todd, frequently cited an exciting statistic: the number of women business owners nationwide jumped from about 600,000 to nearly one million, assisted in large part by these public campaigns. Todd would continue to champion the Women’s Program and clinic model until her retirement in 1960; the BPW would continue to advocate for women’s entrepreneurship long afterward. But the pioneering work done in the 1940s enabled women to claim an important new role as independent business owners and paved the way for future generations of female entrepreneurs.  Debra Michals, Ph.D., is an assistant professor and director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Merrimack College, Andover, MA. This article was adapted from her dissertation Beyond ‘Pin Money:’ The Rise of Women’s Small Business Ownership, 1945-1980, which she is revising as a book, as well as research for the biography she is writing about Jane Todd. EDITOR’S NOTE: Debra Michals holds the copyright to this article, and it can only be reprinted with written consent of the author. Dr. Michals has granted one-time use to the National Women’s History Museum for its December 2017 newsletter. WORKS CITED: National Association of Women Business Owners website: Accessed 22 November 2016. Additional Resources: Jane H. Todd papers, #2763. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.

Join NWHM Legacy Society The National Women’s History Museum has launched its Legacy Society, an exciting opportunity for Charter Members and friends. Have a role in the evolution and posterity of NWHM. Join our Legacy Society.


Each Legacy Society Member will be: • Remembered in the Museum’s permanent records • Listed on the Museum’s website • Listed in every Annual Report • Featured in a prominent location in the Museum once a permanent home is confirmed. To learn more, visit



More than

9.1 million

    firms are owned    by women

They generate


They employ nearly

$1.4 Trillion in sales

7.9 Million people

women owned four percent of all businesses.

WBO 1988

Women’s Business Ownership Act passes Congress. The law was key to expanding business opportunity for women.


Women owned businesses account for 31 percent of all privately held firms.

1.4 million Hispanic womenowned businesses.

+ Eliminated state laws that required women to have a male relative co-sign a business loan. + Established the Women’s Business Center program. + Established the Office of Women’s Business Ownership at the Small Business Administration.


Katherine Graham, only woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company.


Among other things, the Act:


Percentage of Workforce Made Up of Women

38% 1970

43% 1980

+ Established the National Women’s Business Council as an independent, non-partisan federal advisory council to the White House, Congress, and the Small Business Administration. + Increased the Small Business Administration’s access to capital. + Required the United States Census Bureau to include C Corporations when presenting data on women-owned firms, especially including women-owned Corporations. + Directed the Small Business Administration to provide financial assistance to private organizations geared toward womenowned small businesses.

38% 1991

women owned 38 percent of all businesses, accounting for $4 trillion in sales; employed 27 million workers.

45% 1990



11.3 2016

11.3 million womenowned businesses.



Contemporary Perspective Finding Inspiration: Women in Technology By Tara Lloyd

Julie Elberfeld, divisional Chief Information Officer of Commercial Banking Technology and Executive Champion of Women in Tech (WIT) at Capital One, grew up enamored by the NASA space program. Getting a man to the moon was so exciting, but in her young mind, this was not a job for women. If only she knew about her recently found hero, Margaret Hamilton. At NASA, Margaret Hamilton’s team was responsible for pioneering the Apollo on-board guidance software required to navigate and land on the Moon and its multiple variations used on numerous missions (including the subsequent Skylab). Hamilton is now credited for coining the term “software engineering,” although only recently has she been given credit. “I can relate to Hamilton’s love of math, space exploration and being a working mother in a man’s world. I admire her perseverance,” recalled Elberfeld about learning of Hamilton. “She had to gain handson experience during a time when computer science and software engineering courses or disciplines were non-existent. 9

I had the opportunity to be trained from the ultra-reliable software foundation she helped develop. I’m glad to see she’s finally getting much deserved credit.”

sion: To help elevate focus on women in technology through awareness, outreach and education to attract and retain the talent needed to change banking for good.

Julie would have enjoyed putting men (and women) on the moon, but she is happy leading a large team that creates technology solutions for Commercial Banking, “So far, it’s been an amazing career and through the years, I’ve witnessed tremendous change in technology. The tech job market is booming, which is great but creates a real problem; we simply don’t have enough people to fill these roles.”

Elberfeld travels to multiple colleges, conducts internal meetings within Capital One and the banking world, and attends conferences to share her message of hope. She shares decades of research that reveals companies who support diversity are smarter, faster at problem solving, more innovative and report higher productivity and Return On Investment (ROI).

Elberfeld is passionate about technology and helping women of all ages understand the amazing history of female pioneers in the technology field. She also wants to change the common perception in popular culture that inaccurately attributes technology to men. She has a desire to “demystify” the industry and let women know how rewarding it can be to use technology to create solutions to real-world challenges. To achieve this, she and a team created the WIT program. As the Executive Champion, she’s spreading the mis-

Over the last 30 years, sources show the number of women in tech roles are declining. Only 25 percent of technology workers in the United States are women. The leaky tech pipeline looks something like this: boys and girls in elementary school have equal interest and aptitude in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. By middle school, 26 percent of girls drop science related subjects. Only 17 percent of computer science test takers are girls and only 18 percent of computer science college graduates are women, dropping from a high of

37 percent in the mid-eighties. Today, only 20 percent of software engineers are women and only 4 percent are mobile developers. There is real opportunity for women to fill these growing open roles. Women bring unique perspectives and without their representation in the creation of technology solutions, we risk building solutions that do not best meet consumer needs. The tech industry is uniquely challenged to attract and retain diverse talent. That’s the inspiration for the WIT program and efforts to influence at all levels of the education and career ladder to improve gender diversity in technology.

NWHM would like to express its appreciation to those companies and organizations that supported its efforts in 2016. Thank you for believing in our mission and contributing to our efforts to educate, inspire and empower by integrating women’s history into our national narrative. Special acknowledgment to PwC Charitable Foundation who through a grant of $370,000 will help NWHM develop advanced content capabilities on its website.


Elberfeld and her team believes in the power of diversity. Through WIT, hundreds of computer programmers and technology professionals have been hired and are supported. While not seen as a traditional technology company, Capital One has partnered with a number of nonprofits and sister companies to take bold steps to address and fill the leaky tech pipeline. If you’d like to help support women in technology, here are a few helpful tips: • Tell a woman on your team she is valued and support her development • Sponsor a high performing woman on her tech career journey • Learn about unconscious biases and micro-aggressions; be willing to speak up • As a hiring manager, insist on a diverse slate of candidates for every open position. 

Radcliffe students carrying books. Radcliffe College Archives, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University. 1921-1925


“Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.” Sarah Breedlove Walker Entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker was born Sarah Breedlove December 23, 1867 on a cotton plantation to former slaves in Delta, Louisiana. She was an orphan by age seven and worked in cotton fields with her older sister to survive.  She later married, but when her husband died, she was left as a single parent of a two-year old daughter.  Walker supported her family by washing laundry and used her earning as a laundress to pay for her daughter’s education at Knoxville College. In 1889, Walker moved to St. Louis to look for better work.  She became a saleswoman for a black hair-care entrepreneur named Annie Turnbo Malone who employed black women to sell her products door-to-door.  After experiencing severe hair loss herself, Walker experimented with her own hair formulas.  When she perfected a formula she called “Wonderful Hair Grower,” she decided to try her luck at creating her own business. In 1905, she moved to Denver.  She renamed herself “Madame C.J. Walker,” and used her second husband, Charles Joseph Walker’s advertising expertise to build a mailorder business.  The Walkers traveled 11

Madam CJ Walker

around the south and southeast introducing and teaching the Walker Method, which involved her own hair pomade brushing and the use of heated combs. As business grew, in 1908, the Walkers opened a factory and a beauty school in Pittsburgh. After divorcing her husband, Walker relocated her business to Indianapolis in 1910. After years of hard work, she had established a factory, training schools, and a national network of licensed sales agents selling her product.  Her company would become known as the Walker Company.  It was composed of 20,000 men and women agents in the U.S., Central America, and the Caribbean. The total sales of her company during the final year of her life reached over $500,000. With the value of her personal assets, she had accumulated a worth of over one million dollars, making her one of the first American women to become a self-made millionaire. In addition to running a lucrative business, Walker was a noted philanthropist.  She made donations to the YMCA and worked with the NAACP as well as donated money to many causes such as the antilynching movement. She became a

strong advocate of black women’s economic independence and her personal business philosophy stressed economic independence for all women. She used her wealth and status to work toward political and social rights for African Americans and women. Walker died on May 25, 1919 at age 51. Her home in Irvington-onHudson is a designated National Historic Landmark. SOURCES:

Bundles, A’Lelia. “Walker, Madam C.J.,” updated 2001, (14 December 2005). “Madam C.J. Walker,” Enterprising Women, n.d., (14 December 2005). “Louisiana Leaders: Notable Women, Madam C.J. Walker,” Louisiana State University, updated 8 July 2003, walker.html (14 December 2005).

Rose Knox Rose Markward Knox was born November 18, 1857 in Mansfield, Ohio. She is recognized as one of America’s foremost businesswomen and the first female member of the American Grocery Manufacturer’s Association. Knox grew up in Gloversville, New York. Her father was a druggist. She went to work in a glove factory where she met a salesman, Charles Knox who she married in 1883. In 1890 the couple invested their $5,000 savings in a prepared gelatine business located in Johnstown, New York, where the presence of several tanneries would ensure the supply of raw materials. From the beginning, Knox was involved in both the details of the business and the challenge of

expanding the market for gelatin. When her husband died in 1908, he left his wife to run the largest unflavoured gelatine manufacturing company in the world. Upon assuming responsibility for Knox® Gelatine, she re-evaluated her husband’s business methods. She sold off her husband’s many peripheral business ventures, including a hardware store and race horses. Knox also shifted the marketing narrative and decided to concentrate on selling gelatine to the American housewife. She reasoned, gelatine was bought and used by women; and women were more interested in foods that were economical, nutritious and easy to prepare. She set up a test kitchen and developed hundreds of recipes which were printed on Knox® packages, on leaflets and in illustrated cookbooks. They also appeared in newspapers and magazines under the heading “Mrs. Knox says…” It was through her efforts that gelatine evolved from a delicacy and invalid food into a common household staple. Knox operated the company for over 40 years and under her direction, the company expanded enormously. A larger plant was opened in 1911, and by 1925 the firm was capitalized at $1 million. In 1916, Knox bought a half interest in the Kind and Landesmann firm of Camden, New Jersey, from which Knox’s firm had been buying gelatine, and in 1930 she became vice president of the Kind and Knox Gelatine Company. She built a new plant in Camden to produce flavoured gelatine in 1936. In 1929, she became the first female director of the American Grocery Manufacturers’ Association. The Knox company became and remains today the leading manufacturer and distributor of gelatine, selling 60 percent of its product to home and institutional consumers and 40 percent for industrial and medical use. Knox died September 27, 1950 in Johnstown, New York. SOURCES:

All Photos Courtesy: Library of Congress


Lena Madesin Phillips Lena Madesin Phillips, originally named Anna Lena Phillips, was born October 15, 1881 in Nicholasville, Kentucky. An American lawyer and clubwoman, Phillips was considered a moving force in establishing national and international organizations to address the interests and concerns of business and professional women. She was the fifth of her father’s children and the first of his second wife. Her father was a county judge in Nicholasville. From age seven, she attended the Jessamine Female Institute, from which she graduated magna cum laude. At age fifteen, her interest in politics was already peaked. She wrote a letter to the Jessamine Journal opining on the growing debate of gold versus silver in the presidential campaign between William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan. Her political activism would not wane. At seventeen, during the Spanish-American War, she organized twenty five of her friends into a military company. They called themselves the ‘Maine Avengers.’ After graduating the Jessamine Female Institute, Phillips was accepted and attended The Woman’s College of Baltimore. Phillips was the first woman to graduate with honors from the University of Kentucky Law School. She was admitted to the bar in 1917. In 1917, Phillips was invited by a long-time mentor to join the effort to raise funds for the National War Work Council of the Young 13

Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). She was appointed secretary treasurer of the Kentucky Campaign Committee. In May 1918, the U.S. War Department sponsored a two-day conference in New York to plan for a national business women’s committee for war work. The War Department invited two representatives from each state east of the Rocky Mountains. Coming out of the conference was the decision to create a unified organization for women in business. Twenty five women from across the country were invited to join the National Business Women’s Committee. Phillips was appointed executive secretary of the committee. In her first task, Phillips initiated a national tour with women across the country to learn more about what they wanted in a national organization. In the middle of her efforts, Phillips was appointed director of the Women’s Division of the Eastern Department of the United War Work Campaign. In this position, she oversaw ten states and was expected to raise $75 million dollars towards the war effort. Her organizing of the business women would have to wait. When the war ended and Phillips returned to New York, she discovered there was still interest in a business women federation. The Department of War asked her to continue her efforts. Phillips returned to organizing the group. She pushed to bring the National Women’s Business Committee and the National Women’s Association of Commerce together. She organized for the two groups to meet at the Association of Commerce’s convention that was scheduled to be held in St. Louis, Missouri in July 1919. Over some heated debate, the National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs was formed. From 1919 until 1923 Phillips served as executive secretary of the federation. Within a year of its formation, the Club had 26,000 members and its slogan is: “At least a high school education for every girl.” Phillips also started the BPW journal, Independent Woman. Phillips was convinced that no

form of equality could be achieved or prove effective once achieved, without a sound economic base. Hence, she dedicated her life to organizing professional women, first in the United States and then internationally. She founded the International Federation of Business and Professional Women in 1930, made up of women from sixteen countries. She died May 22, 1955 in Marseille, France. SOURCES: pg=PA121&lpg=PA121&dq=BPW+Operation+ Buttonhole&source=bl&ots=aNly357uQJ&sig=a sQshRpFRFGz2s1QVT0U85f6FDM&hl=en&sa= X&ved=0ahU

Carrie Crawford Smith Carrie Crawford Smith was born in Nashville, Tennessee just after Reconstruction in 1877. She attended Fisk University and taught at schools in Tennessee and Florida before moving to Evanston, Illinois on Chicago’s North Shore. Her arrival was well timed coincided with the Great Migration of African Americans from the South beginning in 1916. She arrived in Chicago in 1917. One year later, Smith opened her own employment agency in 1918. During the era of mass migration from the South to the North, Smith saw her business as a chance to

help new arrivals find work. Her business catered to both black and white clients, but mainly focused on African Americans, who were moving to the Chicago suburb in great numbers following the First World War. Smith grew her company by becoming the go-to agency for domestic help. But her business was about more than just jobs – she also saw her venture as a way to promote racial advancement and dignity, especially in the face of ongoing racism. Smith instituted “standards” that anyone who wished to employ one of her clients had to accept. These rules, mainly intended to protect black women’s reputations, also insisted that employers treat her clients with dignity and respect. Those who agreed to employ Crawford-Smith’s employees had to agree to this creed. Her son, Melvin Scribner Smith referred to his mother’s standards as ‘back door leadership.’ She became a well-revered figure among African Americans for the “standards” she instituted. Smith operated her agency continuously until 1954. She was a member of several clubs and religious organizations as well as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She was also the historian of the Evanston chapter of the Matilda Dunbar Women’s Club. She died November 19, 1954. SOURCES:

https://shorefrontjournal.wordpress. com/2012/08/23/carrie-crawford-smiths-backdoor-leadership/ Photo Credit: Shorefront Photographic Archives. “Carrie Crawford Smith’s ‘Back Door Leadership,’” Shorefront Journal, 23 August 2012 (http:// carrie-crawford-smiths-back-door-leadership/). Buttonhole&f=false A Measure Filled: The Life of Lena Madesin Phillips, drawn from her autobiography – Lisa Sergio. 


Contemporary Perspective Pursuing Equality By Teresa Meares

The pursuit and achievement of equality is an important and timely topic for women business owners. Folded within the general move for equality and parity are many subsections – government contracting; access to capital in general; access to venture capital funding; the number of women in elective office and serving on corporate boards. While wading into this topic, it is important to note that there is no monolithic definition or view of what equality can or should look like. However there are measures and means we can pursue to ensure equality is achievable for all women business owners, regardless of what their definition of equality may be. That is why at the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) we work diligently to provide our members with access to what we call the FOUR C’s– Capital, Confidence, Community, and Capitols. We believe all four are required to give women the appropriate resources and legs they need to stand on. Much has been written about women business owners lacking the capital they need to start or grow their businesses. These statistics are real


and measurable. According to a survey from the U.S. Census Bureau, on average, women start their business with half as much capital as men; women-owned and men-owned high growth potential firms experience larger disparities in capital at the time of founding. But both anecdotal and statistical evidence also demonstrates that the problem may not solely be institutional. Women do tend to be more risk averse - less likely to take on short term debt for long-term gain, more likely to ask for less money than they need, etc. This is where the second “C’— confidence comes in. One way to address many, if not all, of the equality issues that plague women business owners may be to increase the confidence some women are lacking. Many women are inclined to wait for the right time to assume leadership roles because they are juggling so many personal and professional responsibilities, not realizing there is no “right time.” We work at NAWBO to provide leadership skills that address the whole leader and translate into our members’ personal and professional lives, so they can serve as leaders in whatever capacity they see fit. We believe if

more women realized how qualified and competent they are, they would step forward. As a result many other deficits we are now facing in the battle for equality could diminish. Some women may also be stopped because they lack a support network, like the kind that NAWBO is ideally positioned to provide. This is the third “C” – Community. Networking tends to be a term applied so loosely that it is easy to incorrectly infer that this is merely a social function. But nothing could be further from the truth. At NAWBO, the diversity within our membership means we have members to empathize with each other and support each other. Regardless of what obstacle or opportunity our members are facing, we have members who are going through the same thing and members who have navigated it successfully who can share best practices and encouragement. Too often women don’t know where to look for these resources and frankly don’t know what they don’t know. At NAWBO we work to address these issues uniquely facing women business owners in their move towards equality. The fourth “C’ – Capitols – goes back to the original mission of NAWBO. Founded in Washington, D.C. forty-one years ago, NAWBO was designed to be an advocacy organization for all women business owners. At the time, there were no other business organizations open to women members and so the women of NAWBO started their own. They faced several real challenges to equality. Many state laws precluded women from obtaining a business loan without a male to countersign and the census data was not accurately counting the contribution that women business owners were making to the economy. In the years that followed, NAWBO played an integral role in the passage of HR

5050, which remedied both of these issues and led to the creation of the National Women’s Business Council, which still does important research into the status and path forward for women business owners. Today, it is our pleasure to carry on that purposeful legacy of our founders. One of the most powerful weapons we have in the hunt for equality is our voice. Because we are still the only dues based membership organization open to women business owners in all sizes, sectors and stages of business development, NAWBO sees the diversity of women business owners in this country and the capacity and opportunities therein. We know this diversity is the strength of NAWBO and that when our members are educated and empowered to share their voice, individually and collectively, we can continue to make progress on behalf of all women business owners. The bottom line is that when women business owners do well, our economy does well. It is in everyone’s best interest for them to have increased access to capital and the other resources they need because they will inevitably invest them back into their communities, by creating jobs and expanding opportunities for others. As our founding president Susan Hager liked to say, “Get a seat at the table or build your own table and be sure to include other women.” That has been the mission of NAWBO for forty-one years. We look forward to continuing to provide our members with access to the Four C’s so they can continue to contribute to their businesses, their communities and our country. Teresa Meares serves as NAWBO National Board Chair and is also the President of DGG Tactical and Uniform Supply located in Jacksonville, Florida.  16



R A E H You

National Women’s History Museum November 16

Today, The American Museum of Women’s History Congressional Commission released its report to Congress. We thank the Commission for recommending a national women’s history museum in a prominent location on the National Mall. We support a strong public-private partnership that ensures the Museum takes its place among the other great museums in Washington, D.C. We great appreciate the Commission’s hard work and bi-partisan support and are proud to have supported them... See More

Emblematic Group @EmblematicGroup

If we want future generations to learn from our mistakes, struggles, experiences, then we need @womenshistory museum


Jody Sloane Gehrmann  What a great idea.

Sue Arrington-coder  Love it! Women don’t get enough credit for all they do Tony Bol is time (it has been for a while)

Corri Jimenez  Yes!!! Thank you

NWHM, and keep up the good work!

Laura Ryan


Now is the time for a national @womenshistory museum!

The American Museum of Women’s History...

Jane Allen

The Congressional Commission on the American Museum of Women’s History presents a proposal for a new Smithsonian...

I love this website. It highlights so many amazing women, past and present.


Editorial Staff Editor:  Melissa Williams, NWHM Communications Manager Art Director:  Brandon Scott, Envision Marketing


205 S. Whiting Street, Suite 254 Alexandria, VA 22304 t: 703.461.1920 | f: 703.636.2668




Women in Business  

Learn how women changed the work force and their impact as business women.

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