As MCDI celebrates National Business Women’s Week (NBWW), we wanted to take a peek at its history. Not surprising, we learned about some incredible business women from the 1920’s that started this movement; helping to blaze the trail that we continue to trek upon!
The very first observance of NBWW was announced in a national speech in April 1928, given by Lean Madesin Phillips, president of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs (NFBPWC). During her speech Phillips stated that National Business Women’s Week was created “to focus public attention upon a better business woman for a better business world."
Phillips was an incredible pioneer for the cause. Following in her father’s footsteps, she was interested in politics and law. Met with much resistance due to being a female, she studied to become a lawyer and was the first woman to graduate with honors from the University of Kentucky in 1917. After graduating, Phillips opened her own practice in addition to founding the National Business and Professional Women’s Clubs in 1919 and then in 1930, the International Federation of Business and Professional Women.
Although Phillips is credited with announcing NBWW, the concept was created in 1927 by Phillip’s colleague, Emma Dot Partridge, the executive secretary of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs. Due to the importance of the movement and also the pressure put on the U.S. due to the great depression, President Hoover publicly recognized NBWW and women’s contribution to our economic, civic and cultural goals and livelihood.
Thanks to the sacrifices and hard work of women like Phillips and Partridge, not to mention many women who paved paths for them and the many who’ve carried the torch after, we’ve come to this place in which women-owned businesses in the U.S.:
Make up approximately 30% of all business
Generate more than $1.9 trillion in sales
Employ over 9.2 million people
These are stats and an evolution we believe early business women would be really excited about, but more-so, thrilled that we’re continuing to empower one another to further progress in equality and total badassery. Let’s keep the torch burning brightly as we continue our celebration of National Business Women’s Week!
Can you think of powerful, historical women in business that have inspired you? Share with us in the comments! We’d love to highlight them as well. Thank you!