Women in Congress Matters, The Key for Women Entrepreneurs

gty_women_in_congress_kb_130103_wblogThis month we saw the result of women harnessing their voting power with the swearing in of a record number of women into the 113th Congress. With this change, Congress now has 101 women – 20 Senators and 82 Representatives.  Can these powerful women of the 113th Congress change U.S. politics? Better yet, how will more women in Congress impact women entrepreneurs?

Promising News for Women Entrepreneurs

More women legislators means more diverse views representing a wider pool of the electorate bringing different experiences and perspectives to the table on issues impacting women-business owners -  crowd-funding rules, financial reform, banking lending cap increases, and new government agency programs and research initiatives designed specifically for women entrepreneurs.

Policy Champions

With more women elected, we have more champions to ensure that our economic message is taken seriously.  Because there is support from party leadership going to women who are in these positions of power, we will see an increased role in women-business owners participation in policy discussions, congressional testimony, and political initiatives.

Members To Watch 

These four legislators will increase the reach and effectiveness of a new women’s movement while also putting women’s financial concerns on equal footing with other pressing issues.

  • •Senator. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) – Sen. Gillibrand’s priorities lie in rebuilding the American economy by helping small businesses get loans and partnering with the private sector to foster innovation and entrepreneurship.  As a member of the slow moving Senate expect Sen. Gillibrand to work to get capital flowing to women entrepreneurs not just from banking institutions but private equity firms as well. The Senator also has indicated that her number one priority is to create good-paying jobs and she knows the role women play in creating these types of jobs.


  • •Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA) – Sen. Warren will return to Washington in her new role as a member of the Senate Banking Committee. As a member of this committee she will have oversight over Wall Street and the financial system which is critical in accessing business capital. Sen. Warren will continue to advocate for consumers and women-business owners whom see believes big banks left vulnerable by taking too many risks.


  • •Representative Maxine Waters (CA) – Rep. Waters has taken her seat on one of the most powerful committees in Congress – the House Financial Services Committee. In her role as ranking member she will become the democratic voice on banking and financial services matters in the House of Representatives. She has long been on the forefront of championing small businesses and encouraging economic development. Despite her critics, expect Rep. Waters to push back and work on issues surrounding job creation and how women-business owners are key to job growth.


  • •Representative Nydia Velázquez (NY) – Rep. Velázquez  will serve as the ranking member of the House Small Business Committee. As a long time ranking member of this influential committee she has sponsored and co-sponsored several pieces of legislation on issues involving women small business owners and economic development. Expect to see Rep. Velázquez continue to focus on initiatives to expand financial services to historically underserved communities while improving the capabilities of banks and other financial institutions.

Even though Congress will remain divided politically, more women in Congress will make a difference if we combine our efforts in championing critical issues. The more we focus on issues that are less divisive, the better chance we have in moving the needle forward in seeing policy change.


Sheena is a government relations strategist with 15 years of experience managing advocacy and political involvement programs for Fortune 500 companies and leading trade associations. She is the founding principal of SDF & Associates a boutique government relations firm and founder of {Nexxuss}, an advocacy network for women entrepreneurs. Email her at sheena.deanne@nexxuss.org. Follow her on Twitter at @SheenaDeanne and @NexxInfluence.