I am an entrepreneur NOT a MUMpreneur!
I am an entrepreneur NOT a mumpreneur!
I am raising a female in a male dominated world. Granted we have taken massive leaps forward however when we are still in a world where women get paid 17.3%* less than a man doing the same job I do think about how I can help her, to ensure her success and her future. So it got me thinking, does gender matter in business?
I noticed that some people refer to themselves as a mum-preneur, others a mature-preneur, not entirely sure why we need different classifications and why it needs to be distinguished from entrepreneur. I class myself as an entrepreneur which is by definition:
“a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.”
Whereas a mumpreneur can be defined as:
I can’t quite put my finger on why this irritates me. Is it because as women we need to be defined as a mother or non-mother? If I didn’t have a child would I then just be an entrepreneur? Why is this distinction needed? Mothers multi-task, whether they be stay at home mothers or working mothers. Between being a mother and all the other human tasks they need to perform (non-gender specific).
I think it gets to me because it assumes women run the household, do all the chores, get the food on the table ready for the partner’s/husband’s, take care of the kids OH and she runs a business from home as well. It, to me, implies it is a hobby, something to keep her busy, to placate her when actually it is a real business. Also, in my particular relationship, my partner has always done more of the domestic bits as I have always worked long hours, I am also absolutely bloody useless at domestic stuff. I can cook, rarely find the time to, I can clean but bloody hate it so we have a cleaner, I don’t do the washing he does. As a woman it is not my “duty” to be the domestic goddess and do everything, and I don’t like the implication that a woman running a business can not be defined as the same as a man.
Take the terminology in the dictionary definition:
“enterprise” This means a company or business, often a small one. Automatically implying lack of significance. This already sets us, as women in business, on the back foot. We do not need to be split between being a mother or an entrepreneur. Being a mother does not determine the success factor, scalability, viability or size of my business.
It does cause mum guilt, sleepless nights, tiredness and general exhaustion but that’s just motherhood right?!
Why can’t we just have gender neutral terms, entrepreneur is gender neutral so it already works? Why muddy it with these other terms? I find mum-preneur patronizing, especially given that by definition it is small. Also what on earth is this whole mature-preneur? I heard that one from someone in one of my business groups, now it’s age dependent? What next, grandma-preneur?!
I see my daughter watch me like a hawk, mimicking my every move. She looks up to me on how to act, how to be, I am her first female role model and what does that look like? It is bloody terrifying! I am probably putting too much pressure on myself with this but if I don’t get this right and set her up for success she will be one of the underpaid women who don’t speak up, don’t challenge and just take it like so many many women do. I want to empower her to challenge, to ask for more, to be equal, valued and most importantly happy.
I am raising her to be fierce. I don’t want her to have to go through the same things I have. Where I sat by quietly, shutting up because if I challenge I am aggressive or defensive, I shut up because I am bossy which just means I am assertive. I am pretty outspoken and do challenge the general status quo but could I have done more?
I have had a couple of jobs where I have hit that glass ceiling which only affected women in that company, women of a certain child bearing age. I have been asked regularly if I am pregnant or planning on having a baby so they can “plan”. Women are defined by so much already can’t we just have this, this one term that is gender neutral, age neutral that defines us simply as in business. Taking chances, pushing ourselves, carving out our little space for ourselves, without having to define it by whether you have children or not, whether you are of a certain age or not, or whether you are a man or a woman.
I personally think that we need more gender neutral, age neutral terms, they should be the norm. If someone walks into a room and says hello ladies and gents I often respond with “hello would suffice”. This is often met with some hostility and “what do you want to be referred to as?” To which I respond “my name is Erin or my job title will do!”. When people say I am argumentative, I merely say no I am simply not tolerating it. When we talk about sexism and benevolent sexism, it is often the little things we don’t challenge, the nuances, the subtleties but if we accept that then we accept everything. Don’t get me wrong, if someone holds a door open for me I won’t stamp my feet and say “I can do that myself I don’t need a man to do it” that isn’t what I mean.
Please note I am a feminist, a womanist but that does not mean I hate men, or want to put men down. I just want equality plain and simple.