October is a great month for so many reasons – the weather is crisp and cool, leaves are changing, and Halloween means wonderful decorations and sweet treats. At the same time, this month, we get an extra treat: October is the month we fete the many women-owned small businesses (WOSB) in our communities and around world; the women who lead these companies; and their hard work, success, and values that inspire and employ so many.
Across the globe, only 20% of exporting companies are owned by women. A very low statistic, indeed! In the United States, nearly one-third of businesses are women-owned and employ more than 9 million people. However, we fall short compared to the globe in that only 12% of US businesses that export are owned by women. How do we change this statistic and bring more WOSBs into exporting and gain access to the 95% of consumers living outside the United States?
Trade and gender is one of top issues discussed at the World Trade Organization (WTO). According to the WTO, empowering women by providing women the same opportunities as men leads to economic efficiency, including improved productivity and competitiveness, and results in positive economic growth and poverty reduction. Common barriers that prevent female business owners from participating international trade include difficulties in identifying market opportunities, lack of access to financial resources, and cultural and social norms that prevent women’s business leadership.
Below are some resources for women-owned small businesses who are looking to tap into international markets and expand their reach internationally.
See more helpful trade, supply chain, market, and policy updates on TradeMoves’ Blog.
We’d love to see more women owned small businesses engage in international trade. As a fellow WOSB, TradeMoves is here to support our community and continue our efforts to promote women empowerment in the cross-border trade arena. Contact us for export advice and assistance.
 Unlocking Markets for Women to Trade, International Trade Center, 2015. https://www.intracen.org/uploadedFiles/intracenorg/Content/Publications/women_in_trade_web(1).pdf
 Behind the Numbers: The State of Women-Owned Businesses in 2018, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, 2018. https://www.wbenc.org/blog-posts/2018/10/10/behind-the-numbers-the-state-of-women-owned-businesses-in-2018
 Unlocking Export Opportunities for Women-Owned Businesses, White House Press Release Archive, April 2014. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2014/04/01/unlocking-export-opportunities-women-owned-businesses
 Economy and Trade, US Trade Representative. Accessed on 9 October 2020.
 Women and Trade, World Trade Organization. Accessed on 8 October 2020. https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/womenandtrade_e/womenandtrade_e.htm
 Women-run Businesses Aren't Exporting Enough - But Things Are Changing, Forbes, October 2018. https://www.forbes.com/sites/bonniechiu/2018/10/05/female-entrepreneurs-are-going-global-new-policy-attention-may-close-the-gap/#4241fef02df7