Here's a welcome revelation for female business owners on International Women's Day: It turns out that trying to make a difference in your community--and networking with other women who are doing so--can bring customers to your door.

Starting on Friday, Lyft, the ride-hailing giant that's filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public, is giving customers a $10 discount on rides to certain women-owned businesses, as well as historical monuments and museums that feature women. The offer lasts through the end of March, which is Women's History Month.

That means small, women-owned businesses such as Republic Restoratives in Washington, D.C., Bagelsaurus in Boston, Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles, and Lockwood in Queens, New York, are likely to get some extra traffic.

How did Lyft choose these businesses to showcase? At the center of the initiative is Valerie Jarrett, a Lyft board member and former senior adviser to President Obama. Jarrett partnered with local community leaders in Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, and other cities, who selected businesses and locations that had contributed to their lives and careers.

In Chicago, for example, Jarrett and Lyft sought the advice of Kim L. Hunt, executive director of the Pride Action Tank, a project of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. In addition to the Chicago History Museum and the Harold Washington Library Center, Hunt selected the Dearborn Restaurant as one of Lyft's discounted destinations. The 8,000-square-foot tavern is owned by two sisters, Amy and Clodagh Lawless, and features murals that depict moments in Chicago's history.

"Every time I go I'm greeted warmly by the staff and super satisfied with the meal and the service," Hunt says. "I have taken my staff here for our end-of-year celebration, had after-work drinks, and hung out for long, leisurely meals with select friends."

Lyft is operating its Women's History Month discount in dozens of cities. Here's the complete list of businesses and other venues.

"Learning important lessons from the women who've made their mark in history, and recognizing so many of them are just everyday people, should empower people to feel like, 'I can do something too,'" Jarrett wrote in a blog post for Lyft. And of the $10 discount, she wrote: "Let's face it--sometimes the impediment to people visiting these wonderful places is that they simply can't afford to get there."

Published on: Mar 8, 2019