Per ABWA’s website, Women have always worked, whether it was in the home or in the business sector. During the height of WWU, women were not only encouraged to enter the workforce, they were deluged with propaganda to join the workforce because it was their patriotic duty. When the war was over, many women lost their jobs, and were reminded that their first responsibility was to their home and their family.
On September 22, 1949, Shirley Cupp, Irma Beisel, Frances Stuckey and Mr. Hilary Bufton Jr. met in a coffee shop in downtown Kansas City to incorporate the American Business Women’s Association at a time when it was considered socially unacceptable for women to pursue a full-time career, have a girls night out or even join an association.
A statement made by Mr. Bufton in the early sos summarizes ABWA’s impact on societal norms: “In many ways, the first generation of ABWA members were the breaking tradition … Without even knowing it, I guess they were paving the way fortoday’s women.”
We are still a relevant organization for all working women, offering online learning, and networking, We have a high proportion of women business owners, many who got their start through ABWA, learning skills and mentoring from other women and gaining the confidence to take that next step. There is still work to be done. Breaking barriers for women and on behalf of women is nothing new in ABWA. We’ve been doing so since 1949!