This is a picture of my Grandma Gallagher’s cookbook. Notice how women signed their names next to the recipes. Some didn’t even have a name. Some were only known by their husband’s names. It’s important to note on International Women’s Day that just two generations ago, when I was a toddler, women couldn’t start a business or get a bank loan without their husband’s signature. I can and I have. I also have my own name as does every single person on this feed. It doesn’t seem like much but even Starbucks knows how important your name is which is why they call it out when you pick up your order.
Even in Wisconsin, it wasn’t until 1988 that a woman could legally get a bank loan without a male co-signer. They were given out before then but a bank could still deny a woman a loan for that reason. I started my company in 1989.
Many women (and men) have moved this narrative along since then but it’s important to remember that it was this recent that a woman wouldn’t even have had her first and last name published next to a recipe she wrote, if she had been married. That’s worth taking a moment to think about on International Women’s Day.
Others have worked diligently over the years so we can have opportunities women once only dreamed of. What are we doing with what we have now? In the last presidential election, many of us didn’t even vote. Policy affects every area of our lives and yet half of ALL eligible voters didn’t show up.
This is one important area where we need to be present, each and every one of us.
On the business front, women still get 1/3rd as much SBA funding as their male counterparts and that’s partly on them. We don’t even ask for the capital we need to become job creators and expand into new markets.
Over the last few years, I have had the honor and privilege of mentoring and supporting 800 women through the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day conference and countless more through the movement. We all have similar hopes and fears. We are 99 percent the same.
When we lift each other up and provide the tools and the network to thrive, we all rise. The circle needs to get bigger. More women than ever are providing not only for themselves but for others.
Today, I celebrate my sisters around the globe who are fierce and triumphant change makers. I celebrate my sisters here in the US. I celebrate all who have gone before us too.
Here’s to all of the fabulous women in your life and mine!