Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor Roosevelt and Jennifer VanDerHorst

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1850 – The first National Women’s Rights Convention is held in Worcester, Mass., attracting over 1,000 participants.

1920 – The 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote, is signed into law by the Secretary of State.

1961 – President John Kennedy creates the President’s Commission on the Status of Women and appoints Eleanor Roosevelt as chairwoman.

1963 – Congress passes the Equal Pay Act, making it illegal for employers to pay a woman less than what a man would receive for the same job.

1869 – Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton form the National Woman Suffrage Association.

1972 – Title IX of the education amendments bans sex discrimination in schools. It says: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” As a result of Title IX, the enrollment of women in athletics increases considerably.

1998 – Jennifer VanDerHorst founds Vibrant Technologies in a tiny little office in Eagan, Minnesota.

2006 - Woman-owned Vibrant Technologies is flourishing as a leader in the remarketed IT industry, employing six women and 13 men. In July, Vibrant ranked eighth in the Twin Cities Business Journal's Top 25 List of women-owned metro-area businesses ranked by revenue, beating out other area businesses such as Citizens Independent Bank and Steinwall, Inc.

Okay, so maybe starting a company is a little different from granting women the right to vote or banning discrimination in the school or workplace – but the act is still one of great value and importance in our society. Here are a couple of key facts about Women-owned businesses from, all of which make me proud to work for Vibrant:

- Women business owners are more active philanthropically: seven in 10 volunteer at least once per month; 31% contribute $5,000 or more to charity annually; 15% give $10,000 or more.

- Although most women are attracted to entrepreneurship for positive reasons, the past 20 years have seen a rise in such motives as frustration with work environments, the desire for greater challenges and more flexibility.

- Women and men business owners have different management styles. Women are less hierarchical, may take more time when making decisions, seek more information, and are more likely to draw upon input from others – including fellow business owners, employees and subject-matter experts.

I didn't come to work for Vibrant because it was owned by a woman. Nor would I mind terribly if it were owned by a man. However, I take pride in knowing I'm a strong, independent woman in the workplace who is helping a great woman-owned business thrive and grow. I'd like to think Eleanor and Susan would be proud.

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