By Lillian Bowe
PNT staff writer
March is gender equality month which brings awareness to equality of men and women.
But in the business side of gender equality, women are often not yet on a level playing field, according to Sandra Taylor-Sawyer, director of Small Business Development Center at Clovis Community College.
Taylor-Sawyer has helped many women start businesses in Curry and Roosevelt counties.
“Women can start a business, but they have a little different road blocks than a man,” Taylor-Sawyer said.
Taylor-Sawyer said she was helping two women who wanted to start their own business without depending on their husbands’ resources.
“The way the system is set up, the two women had to give their husband’s information when they went to financial entities to help start their business. They were really upset about it and thought it was discrimination,” Taylor-Sawyer said.
According to a 2007 U.S. Census Bureau report, 31.7 percent of businesses in New Mexico were owned by women, slightly higher than the national average of 28.8 percent. In Portales, women owned 41.9 percent of all businesses.
New Mexico women earn 80 cents to every dollar earned by men, according to a 2012 American Community Survey by Census Bureau.
The national average is 77 cents to every male dollar earned.
According to Taylor-Sawyer, the Small Business Development Center’s clients are about 30 to 35 percent women who want to start their own business.
Wanda Graham owner/broker of Kiva Realty said she did not experience any discrimination because of her gender when she opened her business in Portales about nine years ago.
“The Lord really blessed me and never had a bit of a problem when I opened Kiva Realty,” Graham said.
Graham worked at Eastern New Mexico University for 25 year in media services and after she retired her dream was to start her own business.
“I have always been interested in realty,” Graham said.