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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9115
JPY
USD
123.92
GBP
USD
0.6554
CAD
USD
1.2443
INR
USD
63.800

Rates may not be current.