NAWBO President and Board Messages

30 Years Later: Women Business Owners Continue Fight for Equality

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Press Release
Media Contact: Joy Lutes,

30 Years Later: Women Business Owners Continue Fight for Equality NAWBO puts a spotlight on the 30-year anniversary of The Women’s Business Ownership Act, H.R. 5050.

Washington, D.C. —The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) released “Spotlight on H.R. 5050: The Bill that Changed Everything for Women Business Owners.”This white paper, sponsored by The PNC Financial Services Group, reflects on the provisions that transformed the course for women business owners and highlights the current areas for improved policy and better women involvement. The white paper includes anecdotes of NAWBO leaders who played a role in H.R. 5050, as well as assessments of the status of women business owners from NAWBO leaders and luminaries in the women business owner community including SBA Administrator Linda McMahon and NWBC Chair Carla Harris. Right now, women own an estimated 11.6 million businesses employing nearly 9 million people and generating nearly $1.7 trillion in revenues.

Noteworthy sections of The Women’s Business Ownership Act included:
  • Erasing the need for a male relative or husband to co-sign a business loan,
  • Establishing the Women’s Business Center (WBC) program,
  • Creating the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC),and
  • Requiring the Census Bureau to include women-owned c-corporations, which expanded research beyond the self-employed and into bigger women-owned businesses.
“We need to stay engaged. We are just as responsible as those who represent us,” says Kathleen Warnick, NAWBO national board chair. “We must offer our policymakers sound ideas to continue moving forward and help them create policies that nurture a prosperous environment for all women-owned businesses.”

“The Cleveland Chapter, NAWBO members are proud to be a part of such an important and influential national organization,” says Pat Altvater, President, NAWBO Cleveland. “HR5050, among other things, created the Women’s Business Center program and we are lucky to have one right here in Cleveland. Several of our Cleveland-area NAWBO members have participated in that program and created viable businesses in the area.”

Opportunities for future engagement and policy include:
  • Expanding access to capital,
  • Providing for research that assesses and meets the needs of women business owners,
  • Targeting support for women of color and women in tech,
  • Giving WBCs the tools to create more of an emphasis on business expansion, and
  • Providing an avenue for more women involvement in procurement.
“Business owners require tools to get their business up and running: resources, access to capital, counseling from business experts and their peers, as well as research that covers their demographic. We must ensure that women are provided these tools just as much as their male counterparts,” according to Teresa Meares, NAWBO Institute for Entrepreneurial Development board chair.

Background: Founded in 1975, the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) is the unified voice of the estimated 11.6 million women-owned businesses in the United States representing the fastest growing segment of the economy. Thirty years ago, members of NAWBO educated elected officials of the undeniable impact women-owned businesses played in the national economy. NAWBO’s outreach led to US Representative John LaFalce authoring H.R. 5050, The Women’s Business Ownership Act, and President Ronald Reagan signing it into law on October 25, 1988.

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