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Opinion: Empowering Women Entrepreneurs: Moving Beyond Symbolism to Action

As we marked International Women’s Day on March 8, it was more than just an occasion to celebrate the progress women have made. It’s a call to action for ongoing support for women workers and entrepreneurs who are driving change in our communities.

At the heart of real progress are tangible investments in the potential of women. Bank of America’s approach goes beyond mere recognition. With a global perspective and local action, we’re striving to create opportunities that translate into empowerment and tangible growth – not just for women but for the families and neighborhoods that their success uplifts.

In Kansas City, for example, our commitment takes shape through initiatives that offer our women colleagues chances to grow. By supporting their leadership and business acumen, were contributing to a larger movement of global women’s empowerment. Such as our Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Development (LEAD) initiative that exemplifies our dedication to this cause. It’s not just about advancing women within our company; it’s a holistic program aimed at fostering professional growth and enduring personal bonds.

Commitment extends to the broader business community as well. By collaborating with organizations that provide women entrepreneurs with mentors, financial resources and business tools we’re helping to close the gap in economic access.

A program in partnership with Cornell is enabling women entrepreneurs to gain skills, knowledge and resources to build, manage and scale a successful business. More than 150 women in Kansas City have completed the online program which is the only Ivy League entrepreneurship certificate program in existence. Established in 2018, the program is delivered in Spanish and English. It has enrolled more than 100,000 in the U.S. and 120 additional countries, primarily women of whom 90% identify as women of color. The program is offered at no cost and there is no “application.” We accept anyone regardless of gender identity and whether their business is up and running or is still in the prelaunch phase.

Local partnerships like United WE underscore our belief that sustainable change comes through research, policy solutions and civic engagement. United WE’s advocacy efforts work to advance economic and civic leadership to create meaningful change for all women and is making a real difference in the fight to end gender inequity.

With the Kansas City Current, we’ve teamed up to renovate the STEM Lab at East High School, a Title 1 school, and the biggest high school in Kansas City. The new STEM Lab is equipped with 3D printers, laptops and other technology all students need to make whatever future they envision a reality.

We understand that empowerment comes not just from opportunities but from the ability to leverage them into lasting change.