Sarah Chamberlain, Nicky Dare and Gloria Mercado-Fortine | Women2Women Tour in SCV

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It’s been said throughout the year – in newspapers, across the airwaves and from our elected officials: 2018 is “the year of the woman.” Following the #MeToo movement and the 2016 election, a record number of women have thrown their hats in the ring and said “count me in!”

But women’s involvement, engagement and enthusiasm at all levels of business and government shouldn’t be limited to just one year. That’s why the Women2Women Conversations Tour is coming to Santa Clarita, to connect local women with business leaders and changemakers who can help to change the conversation and support an ongoing movement for women nationwide.

While women are front and center in today’s political conversation, women entrepreneurs and business owners are thriving and contributing to our country’s booming economy. Nationwide, it’s estimated that more than 11.6 million firms are women-owned. Last year, these businesses generated nearly $2 trillion in sales nationwide. Here in Santa Clarita, there are nearly 7,000 businesses that are woman-owned.

Women across the country are making their voices heard. But there’s still more that needs to be done to close the gender gap in Washington and in boardrooms across America.

Even as more women-owned firms continue to open and succeed, they are still growing at a slower rate and earning less than male-owned companies. What’s worse, when it comes to startup capital to help start a business, women receive disproportionately less than men do.

According to Fortune, women received just over 2 percent of venture capital funding in 2016.

On Oct. 30, the Women2Women National Conversations Tour is coming to Santa Clarita. We are raising our voices together to say “count me in!” We are business owners, moms and entrepreneurs who are excited to hear from you about what matters most.

The Women2Women tour was founded in 2014 with a simple mission – connect local women with the legislators and key business leaders who live and work in their communities. For the last four years, the tour has done exactly that.

From Orange County, California to Charlotte, North Carolina, thousands of women have joined lawmakers, community leaders and superstar entrepreneurs to discuss the issues that matter most to them.

From opioid addiction to workplace flexibility and mental health legislation, the issues discussed are wide-ranging and deeply personal for our participants. One thing is made clear during every discussion and tour stop – every issue is a woman’s issue. 

The Women2Women Tour attendees and panelists are passionate about their communities. Through our tour stops and discussions, we hear directly from women who are engaged, interested and want to affect real change. This includes bringing these real-life issues, questions then and concerns to Washington.

In Santa Clarita, event attendees have submitted a widevrange of questions for our event. Local women want to know how we can create a better system to help pay for higher education, what advice we would give our younger selves as we enter the workforce, and how to better network and serve as a mentor for women looking to follow in our footsteps.

We hope you will join us to talk through these – and many other – important questions that affect all our lives.

Getting anything done in Washington may seem like a long shot at times, but since the first tour stop in 2014, the Women2Women tour has worked to influence critical pieces of legislation in the halls of Congress. Connecting those in need with better mental health care, combating the opioid epidemic, and advancing the discussion on a true work-life balance for working parents – these are issues that affect millions of women nationwide.

The #CountMeIn initiative takes these critical issues and concerns and encourages women across the country to make their voices heard.

We want to use the momentum and inspiration from previous tour stops to empower and improve outcomes for local female entrepreneurs, and to share best practices and tools with those who are looking for ways to be more involved in their communities.

You can learn more about the #CountMeIn movement and our upcoming Santa Clarita tour stop here:

Can we count you in?

Sarah Chamberlain is the founder of the Women2Women National Conversations Tour. Nicky Dare is the president of the International Association of Women, Santa Clarita, and the founder of iDARE® Inc. nonprofit. Gloria Mercado-Fortine is the president and CEO of Global Education Solutions.

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