Celebrating American Business Women
National American Business Women’s Day honors and reflects on the contributions and accomplishments of the millions of women in the workforce and millions of business owners in the U.S. The annual celebration is held on September 22 and was officially recognized by congressional proclamation in 1983 and again in 1986, but NJM celebrates women in business every day of the year.
Progress by women in the workforce is evident and continues to be pursued. Women take great pride in their success and contributions to the business world, but remain motivated by the room for further achievement. When Gloria Forbes first began working in the insurance industry, she stood out among her peers. But her exceptional business acumen and work ethic were not the only reasons why.
“For the first 30 years of my tenure in the insurance world, I was almost always the only woman in the room,” said Forbes, an executive vice president at ECBM, an independent insurance broker and consultant company. “Now I’m one of a dozen or possibly 15-20% of the room. We are more reflective of the community, but not at the very top.”
As Forbes suggested, executive positions at large firms are predominantly held by men. In 2018, only 22 women held CEO positions at Fortune 500 companies. Nearly 47% of U.S. workers are women, according the U.S. Department of Labor, yet less than 5%t of the nation’s most powerful companies are led by women.
At NJM Insurance Group, women make up 50% of its Executive Leadership Team (ELT). The senior vice president & chief information officer and senior vice president & chief underwriting officer positions are both held by women.
The Boom of Women Business Owners
The number of businesses owned by women in the U.S., however, has grown at a faster rate than for any other demographic. According to the 2018 State of Women Owned Business Report, commissioned by American Express, in 1972, the number of businesses that were majority-owned by women was 402,000 (4.6% of all firms). In 2018, that number stood at 12.3 million (40% of all firms).
In the past 11 years (2007 – 2018), the number of women-owned businesses increased by 58% and the total employment by those businesses rose 21%. Why are women in the U.S. launching more than 1,200 businesses every day? According to a 2018 survey by the SCORE Association, the four primary motivations for starting a business are:
A desire to pursue their passion
The experience to start a successful enterprise
A desire for flexibility in their lives
Supporting Women in Business Every Day
Recognizing National American Business Women’s Day is important, but it can be celebrated every day. Locate a women-owned business and purchase a product or service. The website Women Owned was established to build a broad consumer movement of support for women-owned businesses. Visit the site to discover the “why, where, and how to buy women owned.”
If you purchase an item from Etsy, there’s a high probability you’ll support a woman in business. According to a 2017 Etsy report, more than 80% of sellers on the site are women.
But women can support the annual day of celebration in a broader sense. Forbes believes that taking initiative in the workplace and caring about the people you work with are essential for women assuming more leadership positions.
“I believe that successful leadership exists in many different styles,” Forbes said. “Sometimes we’re trapped into looking for one mold or model. If you’re genuine, if you care about the people you work with, if you are fair, open and offer opportunity, you will be a successful leader.”
Did you know that NJM accepts commercial lines new business applications from brokers? Learn more about how to submit business to NJM by contacting your local Business Development Representative. For an NJM broker packet, contact Lauren Vescio at firstname.lastname@example.org.