Louisiana ranks high in women-owned businesses

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Whether it's slinging hash at a local restaurant or buying and selling antiques, women in Baton Rouge have done well in business. The mylife.com survey has Louisiana fourth in the nation when it comes to female-owned businesses. About 130,000 women in Louisiana have put up their own shingle.

Twenty years ago Christina Bannister did just that, opening up Christina's restaurant.

"I had no prior knowledge about the restaurant business at all," says Bannister. "I didn't know anything about it--nothing. And it was the local guys that stood behind me and put their feet under the table and supported me."

Twelve years ago, Sally Conklin did the same thing with her antique store--Circa 1857.

"I'm an artist and part of my art is old things. My grandmother used to take me to auctions and antique stores and told me don't ever strip off the paint. You should paint it. It's a good thing," says Conklin.

But it's not easy for either Conklin or Bannister. According to the food service industry,  70% of all restaurants fail within the first three years. Bannister is fortunate.

"Its hard work. It really is.You got to be dedicated to it. You have to want to do this. You have to be here to be successful," says Bannister.

And there are other obstacles to overcome.. During the last legislative session, an equal pay for women bill failed yet again to get to the governor's desk.

Conklin is skeptical about corporate America and offers this advice.

"Well women need to go into business for themselves. That's what I suggest because in the workplace women are never going to make the same as men in my opinion," says Conklin.

Also according to the mylife.com report only 13 percent of women in Louisiana make over $100,000 dollars a year.

Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina are the three states in front of Louisiana. Alaska is last.

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