A Message from Sarah Chamberlain about Women2Women
Washington, D.C. is a man’s town. Eighty percent of the Congress is male, even though women are 53 percent of the electorate. Men dominate the capital’s political and policy establishments. Republican women like myself have an even tougher time in Washington because there are fewer of us; women make up nearly a third of Democrats in Congress, but only a tenth of Republicans.
The barriers women face in Washington do not stop at the beltway. Entrepreneurship and the ability to start, own, and operate your own business is a hallmark of the American Dream. This dream doesn’t come easily and requires a great deal of hard work, but sadly, women have a disproportionately more difficult time breaking into small business. They face social, legal, and economic barriers that keep many women from being successful in this pursuit.
Since founding the Women2Women Conversations Tour in 2014, I have spent time traveling with Main Street’s Congresswomen to discuss the most pressing issues faced by women and their families across the country. We made it our goal to listen to you, our women constituents, and take the lessons learned back to Congress. Getting anything done in Washington may seem like a longshot at times, but the Women2Women tour has helped produce action on legislation to provide better mental health care, combat the opioid epidemic, and end human trafficking in the United States.
Women2Women has built a reputation as an agent of change in the halls of Congress and our goal is to capitalize on that momentum to help empower and improve outcomes for women entrepreneurs.
American women own and operate 9.4 million companies that employ 7.9 million people and generate $1.4 trillion in sales. Many female entrepreneurs have the desire and skills to expand their businesses but they lack the resources; most notably, they lack sufficient access to capital. A recent Senate report on women entrepreneurs found that, despite making up over 30% of private business owners, women receive a paltry 4% of commercial loans and experience similar discrepancies across most forms of business investment. This is an unacceptable paradigm. As the Women2Women Tour refines its focus to advocating for women entrepreneurs, there are several legislative efforts we plan to champion that can and will close this gender investment gap.
I want to thank the thousands of women who have participated in the Women2Women Conversations Tour since its launch in late 2014. If you’re a veteran of that tour, please know that we could not have done this without you. If you’re just joining us now, welcome to the movement! We hope you will follow our progress in fighting for women entrepreneurs and small business owners. Please check in with us at http://www.mainstreetadvocacy.org or follow me on Twitter at @MainStreetSarah and on Women2WomenConversationsTour@Facebook.com. I believe that if we work together we will all move the country forward in 2016. Thank you and God bless you —
President, Main Street Advocacy