Investing in the Future of Indigenous Women Entrepreneurs

with Jaime Gloshay of Native Women Lead

Native American women are paid an average of 60 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men – a contributing factor to women choosing to become entrepreneurs.

Jaime Gloshay, Co-founder and Co-Director of Native Women Lead, joins host Tetiana Anderson to share how her organization is investing in Native women entrepreneurs as they launch new businesses.

Posted on:

October 29, 2021

Hosted by: Tetiana Anderson
Produced by: National Newsmakers Team

Anderson: Women in America earn, on average, 82 cents for every dollar a man earns, and for some underrepresented groups, that gap can be much higher. Hello, and welcome to "Comcast Newsmakers." I'm Tetiana Anderson. Native American women are paid an average of 60 cents for every dollar earned by white non-Hispanic men. This pay gap is a contributing factor to indigenous women stepping in to entrepreneurship. Joining me to talk about efforts to empower native women and their businesses is Jamie Gloshay, co-founder and co-director of Native Women Lead. And, Jamie, thanks so much for being here.

Gloshay: Thank you.

Anderson: So, I know that this is, of course, an issue you want to call attention to. And there was an economic forum in 2017 in Albuquerque where you tried to do just that. You hosted a panel. Nobody came, but you didn't let that stop you. How did you recover from that?

Gloshay: Yes, we didn't let it stop us at all. What we actually did was we invited our own community. We reached out to our own social networks and asked fellow indigenous women entrepreneurs and leaders in our community what makes us different or unique and what are the challenges and barriers that they're facing as indigenous women entrepreneurs. And from that place, we actually started co-creating the vision of Native Women Lead. We learned that a lot of women in this entrepreneurial journey felt very much alone. They felt like a lot of the offerings that were available in the community were not culturally relevant or understanding of indigenous history. And we also learned that because of their, I guess, lonely journey, they really wanted to lean in to community and lean in to one another to ensure that they were understood and heard and seen.

Anderson: And how much do you think that cultural issues really sort of play into the kind of attention that you get or that you don't get?

Gloshay: Thank you. It's incredibly impactful. So, just to kind of give some stats, native women are very much invisible in this country. We represent less than 2% of the population. So, oftentimes, people don't know that we still exist and we're still here. Within our own community, we often have to remind ourselves that we've always been incredibly entrepreneurial. We've had trade and barter systems that have existed over thousands of years, transcended thousands of miles and cultures and languages, and we have to try to remind ourselves that -- you know what? -- we've always been entrepreneurs, being able to shift and pivot to responding times and needs of the community and also manage and steward natural resources. So, today, when we kind of bring that lens to today, we are oftentimes reminded in our community that a lot of indigenous women are actually motivated by their community. They're trying to bring a much-needed business or resource to their community, at the same time, closing their own racial wealth gap that exists. And what we're trying to do is essentially honor that -- honor that wisdom and honor that entrepreneurial spirit and ensuring that the needs of the community and that culture is actually one of the foundational tools to help them grow and start and launch a business.

Anderson: What are some of the businesses, some of the industries, where we do see native women operating?

Gloshay: There's a vast amount of businesses -- anywhere from healing and wellness, birthing centers, catering businesses, floral businesses, consulting, contracting, yoga businesses, ecotourism. There's just a huge wide variety. And like I said, a lot of the women are social entrepreneurs, so they're definitely trying to bring a much-needed resource in their community or close their own racial wealth gap that exists.

Anderson: And what's your focus now, when it comes to sort of expanding your reach, your education campaign? What are your goals for the future?

Gloshay: Thanks. So, in the past three years, we've connected to over 1,500 women, representing over a hundred different tribal nations throughout this country and all along Turtle Island. Our goals are to build an inclusive ecosystem for indigenous women entrepreneurs to thrive so that they can increase agency and economic empower and seek safety. We want to ensure that our programming is rich and culturally relevant. So, that also has a trauma-informed lens so that women feel safe and cared for in accessing technical assistance. We're offering a wide variety of access to capital options. So anyone, anywhere, from microfinance to lending dollars, up to $250,000, so women can start, grow, and sustain their businesses is another offering. We're going to continue to convene our community because we've built so much trust in our community. A lot of indigenous women feel safe with sharing their stories and letting us know. So we actually have a little bit of a research and policy advocacy arm that's developing out through Native Women Lead. And last, we are envisioning an indigenous. women's retreat center, based here in Albuquerque, New Mexico. So we're looking to not only build that as our headquarters, but to have an actual physical space into a territory here in Albuquerque, to ensure that indigenous women have a place to convene and connect.

Anderson: Certainly, a lot going on there, and I'm imagining people are going to want to find out more. So, what's your website? Where can they go?

Gloshay: Thank you. They can go to;!!CQl3mcHX2A!X1SjgoLPGISdggByu6tfO4q02v6ZyHrVJGFguWCSIyJ8fbD5uh_85NJd3JTBgN_ZJtLO$ .

Anderson: Jamie Gloshay of Native Women Lead, thank you so much for being here.

Gloshay: Thank you. I appreciate your time.

Anderson: And thanks to our viewers, as well, for watching. As always, for more great conversations with leaders in your own community and across the nation, log on to I'm Tetiana Anderson.

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