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Boss LadyHow Three Women Entrepreneurs Built Successful Big Businesses in the Mid-Twentieth Century$
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Edith Sparks

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469633022

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469633022.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Government and Women’s Business Ownership

Government and Women’s Business Ownership

Chapter:
(p.50) 2 Government and Women’s Business Ownership
Source:
Boss Lady
Author(s):

Edith Sparks

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469633022.003.0003

Lewis, Beech and Rudkin all took advantage of government opportunities and actively resisted its intrusions, and this was essential to their success. Close examination of the World War II and Korean War eras—key episodes in the expansion of the federal government as regulator and customer—shows that for these businesswomen building a relationship with government was both necessary and important. Military contracts and Reconstruction Finance Corporation loans kept Lewis and Beech in business while Excess Profits Tax posed a real threat that both women fought and wartime rationing as well as regulations by the Office of Price Administration fundamentally shaped Rudkin’s business strategy and success. Prevailing scholarly interpretations have argued that women’s businesses were too small to attract federal attention but the experience of these entrepreneurs reveals that for women who operated businesses big enough to cater to a national market, government programs were fundamental to their success and federal regulation threatened significant losses in profit. By the mid-twentieth century, in fact, developing a relationship with the federal government was hardly a choice; a strategic one could determine a business’ future.

Keywords:   Federal regulation, Military contracts, Government loans, Reconstruction Finance Corporation, Office of Price Administration, Excess Profits Tax, Wartime rations, World War II, Korean War, Government programs for women

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