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Illinois celebrates American Business Women’s Day

women-workingOver 30 years ago, Illinois native President Ronald Reagan proclaimed that women make significant contributions to the American economy. He believed women made the country internationally competitive. He honored women’s rising role in the workforce by naming September 22 American Business Women’s Day.

 

A 1983 congressional resolution and proclamation created the new holiday. The American Business Women’s Association, founded in 1949, inspired former President Reagan to celebrate the thousands of women who entered the workforce after World War II.

World War II sent America’s men to fight overseas and left a great demand for women to fill their former jobs. Campaigns launched to inspire women to leave domesticated labor in the house to work in military factories. It became a woman’s civic duty to support the war effort.

Posters of Rosie the Riveter quickly became iconic. As decades passed, the image of a strong woman flexing her muscles exclaiming “We can do it!” became a representation of a woman’s changing role in society.

By the 1980s, women increasingly held leadership positions and became business owners. The trajectory of women like Oprah Winfrey of Chicago has displayed the importance of women in the workforce. As one of the most powerful American business moguls, Winfrey has dominated the business world by owning her own television station, production company and hosting her own show.

In Illinois, women have made great contributions to the state’s economy. Women have shaped it’s culture and helped it become a progressive state. Landmark legislation protecting women’s rights in the workforce and equipping women with tools to become competitive are ways Illinois continues to honor women.

Illinois celebrates women every day, but today Illinois makes a special effort to honor the hard work of the women who support and shape the state’s economy.

Related: the American Business Women's Association Top Ten Business Women of their association.

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