June Diane Raphael, actress and co-founder of The Jane Club, took the stage the past month as host of a dinner to celebrate women-owned businesses. In the wake of the pandemic, she spoke to 20 selected entrepreneurs from Vista and IFundWomen’s ReferHer program to honor the women who had pushed through the country’s turmoil to achieve success.
“One of the things that I was so proud of with ReferHer was the number of women that got up during the event and toasted other women, told them about their business, and how they have impacted their lives,” Raphael told LAMag. “It was a beautiful moment because it was an example of how we can move together as a community.”
The dinner kicked off the ReferHer program for the Los Angeles market, which was specifically launched in honor of Women’s History Month. The program invited 50 women entrepreneurs across the world to bring one more woman small business owner to their table. IFundWomen, a prevalent platform for funding women-owned businesses, partnered with “ReferHer” to bring the 100 women entrepreneurs together to network amongst themselves.
“We saw that during the pandemic when children didn’t go to school someone had to pick up the slack and surprise, surprise, that was women,” Raphael continued.
According to a report and survey by Babson College’s Diana International Research Institute, this is entirely correct. In fact, not only did women-owned businesses suffer at the hand of the pandemic, but they also closed at a significantly higher rate than businesses owned by men.
The research estimated that about 25 percent of women-owned businesses closed completely between February and April 202, as compared to the 20 percent of those owned by men. One survey participant emphasized that “there isn’t going to be a back to normal for anyone anytime soon” and that “the sooner we accept that the earlier we can all make progress towards the new normal.”
In Raphael’s opinion, the best solution is for women to work together in order to recover their businesses and keep pioneering in the world.
“The myth that somehow we are able to do this all alone is just that—a myth,” she said. “The truth is, we are made from all these other people.”
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