30 years later: Women business owners continue fight for equality | NAWBO

NAWBO puts a spotlight on the 30-year anniversary of The Women’s Business Ownership Act, H.R. 5050.

DALLAS – The National Association of Women Business Owners 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. (https://www.nawbo.org/one-sheet-hr-5050)

The white paper includes anecdotes of NAWBO leaders who played a role in H.R. 5050, as well as assessments of the current 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 (https://www.nawbo.org/resources/women-business-owner-statistics).

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 program,
  • Creating the National Women’s Business Council and
  • Requiring the Census Bureau to include women-owned c-corporations, which expanded research beyond the self-employed and into bigger women-owned businesses.

“I am a second-generation owner of Marfield Corporate Stationary,” said Lee Ann Packard, a NAWBO member of the Dallas/Ft. Worth Chapter. “My father started the company in 1968, yet my mother ran the company for several years as 51 percent owner and operator. I recall that my mother applied for a bank loan in the early – mid 1980s and was declined unless my father co-signed the loan. He did, and they got the money. They would not do it unless my Father signed even though he was not and had not been active in the business for a time.”

The Dallas/Ft. Worth chapter partners with micro-lending organizations, local government and corporations that have a goal to do business with women owned firms. Tarsha Polk, president of NAWBO/DFW, believed in the importance of empowering women entrepreneurs.

“Women business owners have come a long way since H.R. 5050, but we still have a way to go," said Polk. “There is still a disparity in women getting access to capital and government contracts.”

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.

In honor of Women’s History Month, NAWBO/DFW is hosting the Women in Leadership Seminar on Tuesday at the Bill J. Priest Business Innovation Center. This local event features keynote speaker, U. Renee Hall, who made history in Dallas as the first female police chief. Dr. K.L. Newhouse, Deputy District Director for U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson 30th District of Texas will present NAWBO Dallas/Ft. Worth with a Congressional Commendations letter.



Started in 1985 by a group of energetic, visionary women who believed in the collective strength of women business owners, the Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners is a professional organization dedicated to propelling the success of the 200,000 women entrepreneurs in the area. Its focus is on servant leadership, public policy advocacy and developing strategic programming to support the growth of complex businesses. Aiming to prosper women entrepreneurship, members of NAWBO educated elected officials of the undeniable impact women-owned businesses played in the national economy 30 years ago. 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. Learn more at www.nawbo.org.

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