Women are making great strides across many industries. On May 18, 2022, the U.S. Soccer Federation agreed to a historic agreement: equalized compensation for the first time in history.
Over the last 20 years, female entrepreneurs have grown by 114 percent— specifically, 13 percent in the professional and scientific services category, including horticulture. According to American Express, women owners employ 9.4 million workers and generate $1.9 trillion in revenue.
“Women play a crucial role in the horticulture industry—not only as entrepreneurs, growers, researchers, marketers, and employees at all levels but also as the largest consumers of home and garden products,” says Katie Dubow, president of Garden Media Group. “As a second-generation women-owned business, I am proud to celebrate inspirational, hardworking, dedicated women and spotlight their contributions to the horticulture industry with Women in Horticulture Week.”
While the number of women-owned firms continues to grow, the U.S. Census Bureau states that women are still earning less than men, $38,238 in average annual payroll per female employee compared with $54,114.
That’s why supporting women and women-owned businesses in the green industry is critical. From May 30-June 3, support, honor, and promote these extraordinary professionals and their achievements during Women in Horticulture Week.
“When you look at the growing strength of women entrepreneurs today and then add the huge number of highly-educated women entering the workplace, it’s clear that the future growth of entrepreneurship will be fueled by women,” says Helen Greiner, CEO of Tertill and co-founder of iRobot.
“I am proud to be a part of the horticulture industry as a female leader, not only learning from my mentors but also helping to guide the next generation of women,” says Kelly Funk, president, and CEO of Park Seed. “It’s great to see more and more females choose careers in horticulture. We have a great responsibility to stand as honorable leaders to guide the next generations of women in our industry and pave the path for them to grow and have a voice to make their impact.”
Here are some creative ways to celebrate Women in Horticulture Week.
- Share exciting facts about women in business, including your own story, to inspire other women.
- Volunteer or become a mentor. If you’re a thriving female horticulture entrepreneur, consider giving back by either volunteering with organizations that support women or becoming a mentor. If you’ve never had a mentor, find one to connect with and learn from them. Ask peers inside and outside the industry for suggestions.
- Network with other women in horticulture. Even if you’re not attending events in person, you can invite female entrepreneurs to connect virtually via apps like Zoom. At Cultivate ’22 on July 18, AmericanHort will offer a powerful, inspiring networking experience for women by women.
- The New Jersey Nursery & Landscape Association (NJNLA) and Rutgers Gardens are hosting their third “Women in Horticulture” event on June 1 at Rutgers Gardens in New Jersey.
- Join the industry group Women in Horticulture. They provide free or low-cost networking opportunities for those who identify as women in the horticulture world.
- Improve your skills. Whether reading a motivational book written by a female entrepreneur or using a new organizational app, learning always leads to growth.
- Change your frame on Facebook to support Women in Horticulture.
- Use the hashtag #womeninhort to share stories, photos, and inspiration from women in horticulture on your social media channels.
- Sign up for the AmericanHort Women in Horticulture interview series. Next is Sept 29 from 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm with Spring Meadow Nursery’s Summer Field.
- Get involved with associations that promote horticulture careers for women.
“The role of women as business owners and leaders continues to have a significant impact on the green industry,” says Mary Beth Cowardin, vice president of marketing and member engagement for AmericanHort. “We will continue to help women in our industry expand their business network so they can succeed both professionally and personally.”
It took commitment and collaboration from both men and women to achieve the historic equal pay deal. And while it is important for women to capture more market voice and leadership roles within the industry, women can’t do it alone.
When women rise, the entire industry benefits and profits, and we all win.
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