Facing A Man’s World, Women Start To Work For Themselves

By Elizabeth Kim
The Stamford Advocate, Conn.

In 1985, sisters Mary and Anne Ferrara fell in love with the multi-faceted business of marketing.

Mary majored in the field in college, while Anne, a special education teacher who studied psychology, decided to follow her older sister to the same firm in Rowayton.

Both in their 20s, they toiled in a largely male-dominated industry. Nonetheless, the sisters, who enjoyed helping clients tell a story, spied an opportunity.

“We felt there was a void for a company that could handle everything, from creative to printing needs,” Mary recalled recently.

So she and her sister made the leap: They quit their day jobs and cobbled a makeshift office out of their mother’s basement in Darien. They worked by themselves without pay. After a year, they were turning a profit.

Today, Mary and her sister, who now goes by the surname Chiapetta, are the owners of PCI Creative Group, a cross-media marketing company based in Stamford that has a full-time staff of six and about 300 clients.

A day for women

To highlight their contributions, and those of the thousands of other women in business as part of National Small Business Week, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has declared Tuesday “Women-Owned Business Day.”

The commemoration is the result of the governor’s partnership with the Women’s Business Development Council and the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women.

In a marketplace where women still earn on average less than men, women are increasingly working for themselves. According to the National Women’s Business Council, 17.5 percent of employer businesses are “women-owned,” while another 18.8 percent are women-led. Moreover, according to a study of the past 25 years, women have been launching their own businesses at nearly twice the rate of men.

Translating the group’s impact into dollars and jobs, a recent report sponsored by American Express OPEN estimated that as of 2013, there are more than 8.6 million women-owned businesses in the United States, generating more than $1.3 trillion in revenue and employing nearly 7.8 million people.

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