Zonta USA Advocacy Action Center

Zonta International is a global organization of individuals dedicated to empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy. The Zonta USA Advocacy Action Center is a tool for our members in the United States and other individuals who share our commitment to gender equality to take action to improve the lives of women and girls. With your help, we can make a difference. In addition to the actions below, click here to support our joint efforts with UNICEF USA to end child marriage in the United States.

Support female entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses
There are 12.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States today, compared to just 402,000 women-owned businesses in 1972. Though great improvements have been made, women still own just 40% of businesses in the U.S. and, on average, receive about $5,000 less in business loans than their male counterparts.

The Interagency Committee on Women’s Business Enterprise (ICWBE) was established in 1979 to develop policies to assist women business owners. It was maintained through both Democratic and Republican administrations but has been inactive since 2000 with no chairperson to operate it.

The bipartisan Interagency Committee on Women’s Business Enterprise Act of 2021 (S.2042 and H.R.3875) would reauthorize the ICWBE to help coordinate federal resources to encourage the formation, growth and success of women-owned businesses. It would amend Title IV of the Women’s Business Ownership Act to reauthorize the interagency committee by making sure a chairperson is appointed to operate the committee, and it would update the agencies and departments that would coordinate to make sure all resources are being used effectively.

“As we work to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19, we should be doing everything we can to help businesses grow and create jobs in their communities, especially women-owned businesses,” said Senator Tammy Duckworth [D-IL]. “I’m proud that we’ve come together in a bipartisan manner to introduce this legislation, which would help level the playing field for women entrepreneurs and business owners by making sure they have access to resources across federal agencies. It would also make sure the federal government shares and implements best practices so women can start and expand their businesses and keep contributing to our economy.”

In June 2021, Duckworth and Sen. Tim Scott [R-SC] re-introduced S.2042, and Representatives Grace Meng [D-NY] and Maria Elvira Salazar [R-FL] introduced a corresponding bill, H.R.3875, in the House of Representatives.  Please use our pre-drafted letters to urge your senators and representative to co-sponsor and support the Interagency Committee on Women’s Business Enterprise Act of 2021. If they have already sponsored or co-sponsored the bill, you can send a message of thanks.

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