Decarla Stinn (top left), Karuana Gatimu (top right), Dawn Trudeau (bottom left) and Ashley Kiboigo (bottom right).

Decarla Stinn (top left), Karuana Gatimu (top right), Dawn Trudeau (bottom left) and Ashley Kiboigo (bottom right).

Getting down to business during Women’s History Month

There have been great gains over the years, but challenges remain — especially this year.

Congress declared March Women’s History Month in 1987.

But International Women’s Day, which is celebrated Monday, has been going strong since 1911. The global day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

This month, The Herald Business Journal is focusing on women in business and Snohomish County business owners, executives and volunteers who are making history.

■ Meet Decarla Stinn, whose Everett beauty supply business has been going strong since 2004.

■ Say hello to Karuana Gatimu, a Microsoft executive who found her calling 25 years ago in the technology industry.

■ Learn more about Ashley Kiboigo, who opened Safe Haven WiFi Cafe, a quiet, secure place with internet access where students can learn remotely and receive in-person tutoring.

Virtually in Edmonds

For a local take on International Women’s Day, fire up your computer and attend Edmonds International Women’s Day

The free, two-day event, which takes place Sunday and Monday, will be virtual this year.

The Edmonds event was founded three years ago by resident Alicia Crank, chairwoman of the Snohomish County Airport Commission and chief development officer at AtWork!, a Bellevue nonprofit.

“The event has always been about elevating the voices of local women in the area who may otherwise go unnoticed or unsung,” Crank said. “It’s also meant to provide something both educational and entertaining for under-served women and girls in our community.”

Log on to hear from Dawn Trudeau, co-owner of the Seattle Storm, and Sue Bird, an 11-time Women’s National Basketball Association all-star with the Storm.

Other speakers include Ranice Innocent, a race and equity educator and leader; Jael Weinberg, a mental health counselor and art therapist who works with people living with dementia; and Melody Murray, family therapist and child mental health specialist. For information go to: bit.ly/3b88UYe.

Tough times

In the past two decades, the number of women-owned businesses across the U.S. has more than doubled, rising from 6.5 million in 2002 to 13 million in 2019, according to the American Express 2019 State of Women Owned Businesses Report. Today women-owned firms account for 39% of privately held companies, according to the National Association of Women Business Owners. From 2014 to 21019, the number of firms owned by women of color grew 43%, American Express reported.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected women-owned small businesses, including the more than 200,000 in Washington, according to a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey.

Revenues and optimism are down, a troubling sign that women in business might have a harder time recovering than their male counterparts, the survey noted, despite federal relief efforts provided in the CARES Act, such as the Paycheck Protection Program and small business grants.

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