News / Economy

Woman Moves Into Commonly Male Domain

Almost one-third of small businesses in the United States is owned by women. That number is on the rise, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, especially in fields which were once dominated by men.

On the move

Chances are, a few decades ago, a moving company, with all of its trucks and heavy duty equipment, would have been owned by a man. But Apple Transfer, a company located in Fredericksburg, Virginia, belongs to Barbara Ayers.

She is president and CEO of the company, which helps move households and businesses all across the U.S., and overseas.

Ayers started the company with her brother Joe Garlick, in 1988. When they started out, it was just the two of them.

“We actually had one small truck, on trade," she says. "He did the moving and I took care of the office."

Today, she oversees a fleet of trucks and a large storage facility, employing up to 100 people during peak moving season.

Government support

Ana Harvey, assistant administrator for the Office of Women’s Business Ownership at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), says women-owned small businesses in the U.S. are flourishing.

“If you think about 1979, only 5 percent of privately owned businesses in this country were owned by women," she says. "So here we are in almost 2013 and 30 percent of the privately owned businesses are owned by women.”

According to Harvey, the trend started with a federal law passed in the 1970s.

“Back then, there was an act passed that allowed women to actually get a loan without having a male co-signer,” she says, “and that really made a difference in terms of women business ownership.”

Economic influences

And then, says Harvey, there’s been the economy.

“There’s been a batch of layoffs, and women just turn around and say, ‘You know what, I’m going to look for a business but in the meantime I’m going to start something I’ve always wanted to do.’ And that becomes the actual business.”

Harvey, who used to be a small business owner herself, adds that the federal government is there to help women in a number of ways.

“Last year we helped about 160,000 women with business plans, marketing plans, social media interactions; everything that you need to build a business," she says.

And while the SBA, which promotes the development of small businesses in the U.S.,  is not a lender, it does work with banks and micro lenders to make sure that entrepreneurs have capital to start or grow a business.

Government contracts

The SBA also assists small business owners like Barbara Ayers to procure government contracts.

The bulk of her client base comes from the Department of Defense. However,  the savvy business owner says she heeded some advice that has served her well:

“I had a wise person tell me a very long time ago, ‘Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,’" she says. "So we try to make sure we are diversified in our client mix.”

In addition to government contracts and corporations, her clients also include private citizens, whom she affectionately refers to as “our moms and pops and our aunts and our uncles.”

Women in male-dominated areas

Government support has also helped entrepreneurs like Ayers explore businesses that have been traditionally closed off to them.

“I’m in the trucking industry and so I’m a novelty because this is traditionally a male-dominated industry," she says. "So I sometimes find resistance. No reflection on men, but it is just the attitude and the thought of the way that it was.”

But Ayers says it has all been worth it.

“When I’m driving on the highway, and I see one of my trucks, it is a very proud, proud moment as I see it drive by,” she says.

Judging by the statistics, it's a feeling being shared by a growing number of American women entrepreneurs.

"I say to anybody, ‘Just do it!’” says Ayers. “You will have your trials and tribulations, you will have your sleepless nights, but you’ll never know unless you try, and it is very, very rewarding, extremely rewarding."

You May Like

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: HDS26234 from: California
October 27, 2012 11:58 PM
No better proof than this; that the American traditional Biblical home is fast being wiped out, in good old USA!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies


Rates may not be current.