Search Icon White

ANSI Seeks Comments on Proposal for Women-Owned Businesses International Workshop Agreement


Submit comments by July 26

In an effort to help develop a definition of a women-owned business, and guidance for how the definition can be used in practice across businesses, governments and international initiatives, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) encourages its stakeholders to submit feedback on an International Workshop Agreement (IWA) proposal. The IWA proposal was recently circulated to the Technical Management Board of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

SIS, the ISO member for Sweden, released the IWA draft proposal on women-owned businesses, which aims to lower entry barriers for women business owners to public and private procurement opportunities, increase their access to capacity-building program and incentive schemes, and reduce certification costs for supplier diversity programs.

The State of Women-Owned Businesses in the U.S.

  • Women-owned businesses employ 9.2 million people and generate $1.8 in trillion revenue, according to the Women's Business Enterprise National Council.
  • According to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, women owned approximately 20 percent, or 1,118,863 of all employer businesses (5,601,758) nationwide (2016).
  • Analysis from the 2018 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, commissioned by American Express, reveals that the states with the fastest growth rate in terms of the number of women-owned firms between 2007 and 2018 are:

1. Florida

2. Georgia

3. Michigan

4. Tennessee and South Carolina (tie)


In establishing a commonly agreed upon definition of a "women-owned business," an IWA may ultimately inspire a broader discussion and additional efforts towards further standardization work on gender equality and related topics, the proposal asserts. Over time, a standard definition could facilitate the collection of internationally comparable data on women's entrepreneurship and the impact on local and national economies.

All interested U.S. parties are invited to review the proposal, which features related existing ISO/work and relevant affected stakeholders. Submit comments to Steven Cornish, ANSI senior director of international policy and strategy, at [email protected] by close of business on Friday, July 26, 2019. ANSI is the U.S. member body to ISO.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


[email protected]

Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


[email protected]