NCSL's Women's Legislative Network News for March 2015


Women's Legislative Network



Jane Powdrell-CulbertOn behalf of the board of the Women’s Legislative Network of NCSL, I wish you the best for a lovely and productive spring. If you are in the final days of your legislative session, we hope you will turn to NCSL for information, and please contact me personally if I can be of assistance.

This newsletter is to keep you informed about women in state legislatures, NCSL meetings and resources, and noteworthy news. We will be focusing on a different topic each issue. You’ll see information and resources about women and entrepreneurship in this issue. We welcome news from your state, so please submit any items that you’d like to share with women around the country. The next issue’s subject will be domestic violence prevention and resources.

Watch for a session about women business owners at the 2015 NCSL Legislative Summit in Seattle this August!

The mission of the Women’s Legislative Network is to promote the participation, empowerment and leadership of women legislators. The network is bipartisan and includes every female legislator in the states and territories. I hope you will join us at a future event or share your ideas about what you’d like us to work on.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Jane Powdrell-Culbert, State Representative, New Mexico
President, Women’s Legislative Network of NCSL
Email me

Legislators: Please Take Our Survey!

PencilsThis year marks the 30th anniversary of the Women's Legislative Network and we'd like to get 15 minutes of your time to help plan for the next 30 years. This survey helps us gather data for a strategic planning process we are undertaking to how we can best serve you and future women legislators across the nation. We hope you will participate in this important survey and provide your candid responses. In advance, we thank you!

Take the survey here.


Women and business: NCSL resources and links

The Women’s Legislative Network board supports continued attention to topics related to women, small business and entrepreneurship.

Women and Minority Business Development: State MBE Certification Programs

Among minority business enterprise (MBE) development strategies, perhaps the most well-known, are programs designed to encourage minority-owned business growth through facilitated participation in government procurement. At least 41 states and Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico have state-level MBE development programs involving certification for participation in state government procurement independent of existing federal DBE development programs in both funding and administration. This chart contains a list of states with these programs, and also indicates offices which provide services to women-owned businesses. Complete information here.

Video: Small Business Development and Growth

This session from NCSL’s 2014 Legislative Summit covers innovative ways for your state to develop and utilize resources for expanding job growth. Video here.

Working Families: A Legislator's Toolkit

Working FamiliesHalf of all Americans cannot get $2,000 in 30 days. That means that many people are a major car repair or an unexpected medical bill away from a financial crisis. The vast majority of families—82.2 percent in 2008—have at least one member who works. Yet, despite their efforts, many of these families face significant challenges to achieving their goal of economic security. Since 2002, The National Conference of State Legislatures / Annie E. Casey Foundation Partnership on Family Economic Success has assisted legislators who want to create more opportunities for working families to succeed. See the toolkit here.

Job Skills, Education and Workforce Development Resources

States have employed an array of strategies to encourage workforce development including getting students prepared for a career or college, and training new and incumbent workers to meet the demands of evolving industries. Review a list of resources compiled from all NCSL programs that conduct research on workforce issues and job creation. See the list here.

Promoting Entrepreneurship: Innovations in State Policy

EntrepreneursA widely accepted and enduring claim is that entrepreneurial activity is vital for healthy economic growth. Yet despite their importance to the economy, entrepreneurs are not always well-supported by state policy. Read more about how lawmakers can foster entrepreneurship as well as innovative strategies in the states to promote economic growth in this NCSL report. Read the report here.

Workforce Development Initiatives: Collaborating to Prepare for the Jobs of the Future

Slow recovery from the Great Recession has underscored the shift from an industrial-based economy to one that is knowledge-based. Often there is a lack of skilled, educated workers to fill an increasing number of available jobs. Yet filling these new jobs would bring an increased return on investment to state economies, as they usually require a high level of skill and therefore pay well, generating higher revenues for states. Read about state and industry-led workforce development initiatives in NCSL's new report on preparing workers for the jobs of the future. Read the report here.

Women and Business: News from the States

A few examples of activities to promote women's entrepreneurship from around the country. If we missed your state, please submit a news tip for future issues.

Women Entrepreneurs Accelerator Launches in Colorado

Denver, ColoradoTwo Colorado women founded MergeLane this year, a 12-week accelerator program for women-led businesses. The first class of eight companies began last month, and interest is high for future offerings. Read more here.



Indiana House Honors 40th Anniversary of Women Business Owners Group

On March 9, the Indiana House of Representatives honored the 40th anniversary of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). The recognition was presented by Representative Robin Shackleford (D). With 200 members, NAWBO's Indianapolis Chapter is the largest of the 60 chapters across the United States. Key initiatives are diversity training, community awareness, and member-mentorship programs to advance the sustainability of their business community. Read more here.

Minnesota Holds Women's Economic Security Summit

The 2015 Women’s Economic Security Summit was held Jan. 22 in Saint Paul. Organized by the Legislative Office on the Economic Status of Women, the event included panels about family caregivers, indigenous women and women of color, and women and transportation policy. Resources and videos of the panels available here.

New York City to Help 5,000 Female Entrepreneurs

Woman Entrepreneurs NYC (WE NYC), will roll out over the next three years and is targeted at underserved women, who might otherwise struggle to find ways to get their businesses off the ground. WE NYC services will be provided by the City’s Department of Small Business Services, as well as Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program and micro-lender Grameen America. Participants will learn basic business and entrepreneurial skills, and have access to mentoring, loan negotiation workshops, and intensive classes dedicated to specific industries. Read more here.

Ohio's Week for Policy and Entrepreneurship for Women

OhioThe state of Ohio has designated the second week of March as “Ohio's Week for Policy and Entrepreneurship for Women” with the passage of HB103. The bill enables the state to set aside this week every other year to allow for dedicated focus and meetings with women leaders, entrepreneurs and legislators across the state to come together and address issues and opportunities facing women. Read more here.


Other resources

Why Are There So Few Women Entrepreneurs?

Sociologist Sarah Thebaud describes her research into some of the unconscious biases that put female entrepreneurs at a disadvantage compared to their male counterparts. In her experiments, women who led business startups were viewed as less competent and less skilled than men. Thebaud suggests that women can combat such bias by proactively highlighting the novelty of their venture and the unique experiences they bring to the project. Read more here.

Money Smart Week: April 18-25

MoneyCreated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in 2002, Money Smart Week® is a public awareness campaign designed to help consumers better manage their personal finances. This is achieved through the collaboration and coordinated effort of hundreds of organizations across the country. Programming is offered to all demographics and income levels and covers all facets of personal finance. Read more here.

InnovateHER: 2015 Innovating for Women in Business Challenge

InnovateHER is a women's business challenge to unearth innovative products and services that help empower the lives of women and families. Organized by the U.S. Small Business Association, InnovateHER provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs to showcase products or services that have a measurable impact on the lives of women and families, have the potential for commercialization, and fill a need in the marketplace. Find a competition in your area here.

Data and Statistics from U.S. Department of Labor Women's Bureau

This website has current and historical statistics on a broad range of topics and sub-populations of women in the labor force. Includes occupational breakdowns, earnings, historical trends, and information about mothers and veterans in the workforce. Information is presented in useful charts and infographics. Read more here.

Friends of the network

Institute for Women's Policy Research Launches Status of Women in the States

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women, promote public dialog, and strengthen families, communities, and societies. IWPR works with policymakers, scholars, and public interest groups to design, execute, and disseminate research that illuminates economic and social policy issues affecting women and families and to build a network of individuals and organizations that conduct and use women-oriented policy research. Review the data here.