Why don’t fathers get called Dadpreneurs?

Mumpreneur Guide
There’s been lots of chat online in the last month about “mumpreneurs” – women who set up businesses while also running a family.

One of the big winners at the recent Mumpreneur conference was Antonia Chitty, a fantastically successful journalist and author, who I've known of through work for a number of years. So I was really interested to receive a copy of Antonia’s latest book,  “The Mumpreneur Guide”, billed as the ultimate guide to starting and running your own business.

For anyone considering going into business for themselves, it’s a really useful book. Extremely easy to follow, clearly laid out, easy to read, and with lots of examples from real women in business. It guides women through the process of coming up with a business idea, getting the business established and finding your first customers. The checklists alone should help you avoid many of the pitfalls that can derail new businesses.

Once you’re in business, though, I suspect you’d need much more detailed advice on regulation, taxation, finance and so on, but this is a great place to start as much of the advice is universal and would apply to any new business. 

But I must confess – I do have a bit of a problem with the word “mumpreneur”. To me, it conjures up all kinds of cosy images of women running friendly little businesses selling something appropriate, in between baking scones and doing the housework. It's like Diane Keaton in Baby Boom, updated for the Internet age.

When’s the last time you read about a Dadpreneur? You didn’t, because men in business are businessmen or entrepreneurs. So why do we assume that women running a business somehow need a special label to congratulate them on fitting in a little something while also doing their (proper) job of raising a family? Ugh.

Sadly, this book doesn’t do much to challenge that myth. I haven’t counted but I’d hazard a guess that 80% of the businesses mentioned in the book are online businesses set up to sell baby or child-related products or services. There are children’s toys, real nappies, children’s books, children’s dolls, baby clothes, baby towels, baby gifts.

Without intending any disrespect to any of the women running these businesses and the success they've achieved – I’d have loved to have seen a more rounded representation of what women in business can achieve. Where are the IT consultants, the retailers of non-baby products, the financial service whizzes, the inventors or travel gurus? As a journalist who’s covered business for 10 years, I know they’re out there – I've interviewed some incredibly inspiring business women and entrepreneurs in my time – but perhaps they’ve escaped the ‘mumpreneur’ tag?

I’d be interested to know what other women think – is being called a mumpreneur a compliment to women?

About 

Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She's also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world's coolest ten year old.

29 Comments

  1. Insomniac Mummy
    5th October 2009 / 12:14 pm

    Before I started blogging and using Twitter I’d never come across the term ‘Mumpreneur’, and I have to admit it did seem a little strange to me.
    To me a mum who runs a business is just that, a mum who runs a business. Whether it be from home or not.
    I think many people feel comfortable when they can put others in boxes and give them labels, but the labels don’t always sit well with the people who are given them.
    The term ‘Mumpreneur’ gives me the impression of restriction and constraint. If I were a business woman I’d rather not be pigeon holed but can see that labels like these can help people’s visibility in the business world. That is just my totally inexperienced take.
    I wonder if Michelle Mone would consider herself a Mumpreneur?

  2. 5th October 2009 / 11:27 am

    as always you make some really great points. It does appear that it is another way women entrepreneurs are marginalized and pigeon holed. Almost a self implied apology or explanation. Oh I run my own business BUT only after taking care of my family, just a little something to keep me busy. Thanks for giving me something to think about as a small business owner myself it’s easy to fall into that trap.

  3. 5th October 2009 / 11:32 am

    I’ve been running my own business for 10 years now – well before I was a mum. I do call myself a WAHM within parent blogging circles (well, it’s part of the title of my blog, after all), but otherwise I avoid such gender-specific terms. And I run the business with my husband (who joined as a partner about six years ago), so he is technically a dadpreneur, too, I suppose – he’s certainly a WAHD – and loves it, though might not use the term.
    I think there is certainly an association between the term mumpreneur and online businesses that sell baby products and similar. Those of us working in other industries, particularly those where freelancing/small businesses are common (design, writing, PR, etc.), probably think of ourselves in different terms, even though we may well retain all the benefits of working from home and being able to bake in the middle of the day or whatever.

  4. 5th October 2009 / 11:45 am

    It is a difficult one Sally. I was thinking about this when I chose the title for the book, and of course the conference (and the criticism) has got me thinking about this again.
    I think Mumpreneur is one step on from WAHM – not all women/mums in business work from home, and it does link into the entrepreneurial side of things.
    It is a useful shorthand way to tell mums at home looking for flexible work that there are lots of other mums out there running a business. AND, women who are confortable to be mumpreneurs are also comfortable with being explicit that they give high priority to their family AND their business. There is no need in the mumpreneur world to pretend that you don’t have kids in order to achieve success.
    On the downside, like any label it misses out lots of things. Of course, few people like being categorised. Of course, many women want to be recognised for their business achievements with or without family. But is it, as the Mumpreneur Conference shows, a great way to draw people together who have plenty of issues in common to share, network and learn from each other.

  5. 5th October 2009 / 11:47 am

    Whilst I don’t personally feel comfortable using the mumpreneur ‘tag’ I had no reservations about going along to the conference and meeting fellow mums in business.
    I’ve worked with many mums running businesses since I launched my web design business in 2002. In the early stages I found it helped as they were used to the sounds of babies in the background when taking business calls, or the fact that I would not be in the office during nursery pickup time. My business has grown beyond that stage as both my children are now at school, but I still work with a lot of mum run businesses. I understand their needs: for example most rely on internet based methods of communication – long phone calls just isn’t always possible), the delays in receiving information if a child is suddenly ill or the need to discuss their website in the evening once the children have gone to bed.
    I have worked with many different business types all run by mums – IT consultants, virtual assistants, travel companies, PR companies as well as lots of companies in the baby & child market. So there is a lot of diversity in the businesses mums run.
    There are definately challenges that mums in business will meet that ‘general business owners’ have no concept of. Though of course dads in business will in many cases have the same experiences.

  6. Lousie Billington
    5th October 2009 / 12:30 pm

    I’m really pleased to see this issue getting an airing and I hope it leads to some useful debate. As a 40+ woman who recently set up a business, I’ve seen a lot of ‘mumpreneurs’ on Twitter – intelligent and competent women who seem to be hiving themselves off into an entreprenerial ghetto – a safe and fluffy place that to be honest, comes across as a bit smug to a non-mum. It seems the starting place of the mumpreneur movement was to provide much-needed support and information, but the danger is it’ll hold women in some kind of stasis of underachievment.
    I admire women who combine running a business with raising a family and who’ve been able to find an alternative to the 9-5 routine, but just make sure the support network isn’t made of chains. Having a broader network of business contacts (both women and men) exposes you to bigger ideas and a broader scope and provides something to grow towards when you’re no longer having to fit your business round toddler nap times and the school run.
    I think it’s amazing that women can squeeze a successful business into small pockets of time in between dealing with the demands of family life – this is a grass roots group who could teach bigger busineses a thing or two about efficiency and time management. But don’t underestimate yourselves or let the ‘mumpreneur’ label become synonymous with thinking small.

  7. Claire
    5th October 2009 / 1:31 pm

    I blogged about a similar thing just this morning at http://www.snugbaby.co.uk/blog/2009-10/the-rise-of-the-mumpreneur/
    Like you, I find the term a little, well, patronising. But having said that, it is a useful way of describing women who have set up a business after having children, and maybe even their children are the inspiration behind the business (hence the bias twards child/baby related businesses in Antonia’s book).
    And of course, like it or not, being a businesswoman (especially one who runs the business from home) when you have children presents it’s own set of challenges, which are not encountered by businessmen or women who are not also full-time parents. It is more than “having a family life” – my husband does that, but he does not have to fit his full time job around school runs, sickness, nativity plays, homework etc etc.
    So, although the title makes me a little uncomfortable, it is quite fitting. For what it’s worth, I don’t think there would be any objection to Dadpreneurs attending a future conference – the common denominator is the difficulties we, as full time parents, face in a challenging business world.

  8. 5th October 2009 / 1:14 pm

    Wouldn’t it be nice if juggling family and business just became ‘what people do’ rather than a mumsy ghetto? I know plenty of men as well as women who combine running successful, usually knowledge-based, high-tech businesses with having a family life.

  9. Natalie
    5th October 2009 / 2:31 pm

    Ah Sally I do love your posts :-)For a few months I used the word mumpreneur but found that for some reason it didn’t really sit well with me and we scotched using it in the title of a feature on Self Employed Mum because we were increasingly uncomfortable with the term. I admit – I am equally divided by the term ‘mummy blogger’ though but that’s a whole other story!
    I don’t really like to be pigeon holed and I’ve found that reflects my attitude to what I write, how I work, and who I engage with. I’ve only been a mum for just over two years – I’ve been me for much longer.
    I think that the ‘problem’ online, is that when there is a call for interview candidates on this subject, online retailers and those who are in the baby sector, are very quick to put themselves forward. There is nothing wrong obviously with these businesses but it doesn’t give a very rounded view because as you rightly pointed out, there are so many other things that *women* are self employed as, nevermind mums. I think it can give the wrong impression that the only thing we’re interested in post birth is baby-centric businesses.
    I do believe that there is a different set of pressures and challenges that affect mums who work for themselves, and it’s those issues that I find interesting to write about. In fact, being a parent and being self-employed is challenging. As Cecilia pointed out, part of the stress of self-employed mothers is our own self-imposed worry.
    ‘Mumpreneur’ is not actually a widely searched for term so it would seem that it’s been used by a narrow group of people and that when mums are considering working for themselves, they look up being self-employed. It’s a label – if someone asked me what I am, I certainly wouldn’t call myself it. Ultimately the term is a way of grouping people together but we don’t have to rest on it.

  10. 5th October 2009 / 1:42 pm

    No, I don’t think it’s a compliment.And the only reason you don’t have dadpreneurs is because they don’t have the dilema that women have of being good parents and good busines persons.
    Even the fathers that are good fathers don’t stress themselves 25% of what we women do of being a good mother while being good at what we do.Even from home, work is work.
    (I know I’m going to have mumblog world chasing me after this one)

  11. Susan Odev
    5th October 2009 / 2:48 pm

    This is an interesting debate, especially as I am in the final days of writing my book Mum Ultrapreneur.
    We use the terms business mum, entrepreneur, WAHM and mumpreneur interchangeably. Perhaps Parentpreneur would be a better label – if we feel the need to label at all. A stay at home Dad who also sets up his own business based on a business idea generated by being a father or to fit in with his duties as a father would possibly share the same needs, constraints and problems as a business mum.
    Many mums work and increasingly they are opting for career paths that allow them to balance their work and family lives better. Childminders are business mums are they not? I have been a freelance trainer for over 10 years but did I consider myself to be an entrepreneur? My work was based at my home. I agreed to contracts that fell in line with my desire to be there for the school run as often as possible. Am I a WAHM then?
    I ran a seminar at the workshop on Saturday and am amazed that anyone can view it as anything other than a positive celebration of the acheivements of mums in business and a great networking event for the meeting of like minded souls.
    People like to label others. Some of us like to know where we “fit in “. I am old enough to recall the days when Women’s Libbers were all branded as men haters and “feminism” was a nasty word.
    Defining trends helps us to process and absorb. One day we will look back and think what was the big deal? – of course Mums (and Dads) set up businesses from home if they want to. It’s all a matter of personal choice.
    http://www.mum-ultrapreneur.com
    http://www.twitter.com/mumultrapreneur

  12. Laura
    5th October 2009 / 4:35 pm

    Am I missing something? I don’t get what all the fuss is all about!!
    I am a woman in business, I am also a Mum. The thing that makes me feel so proud is that I am managing to acheive my goals business wise whilst cooking, cleaning, ironing, school runs etc, etc.
    Whilst many people are not keen on the term ‘mumpreneur’ we are a group who receive no support! There are networks out there for Entrepreneurs, women in business, men in business and the likes but nothing that accomodates Mums.
    After working in sales, self employed, I found it increasingly hard to get people to take me seriously once they heard a little one in the background and, unbelievably, this can still cause a problem! We are trying to create a network of women who all live with the same pressures. The fact that we have to be good wives, mothers and business women all at the same time is no easy thing – all we want is support from like minded women!!!!

  13. 5th October 2009 / 6:09 pm

    Really interesting – being new to blogging I only came across the term Mumpreneur yesterday and it struck me that a term even existed! I love Natalie’s term ‘Ultrapreneur’ and I think that hits the nail on the head. Can I be one please?!
    I think the more mainstream these concepts become, acutally the more motherhood can be valued in and of itself (I can’t bear the ‘just a mother’ sentiment!) and the worlds of parenting and business can be made less polar. I recently took 4-month old Bean into the office and felt patronised and idiotic, but why?! My husband wouldn’t!
    ‘Mummpreneur’ says to me, “here is a woman who can run a family and a business and be proud of it.” Let’s embrace new concepts to bring change, rather than allow old terms to keep Mums, and Dads, in boxes that no longer work in our society. Pity the person who would be foolish enough to underestimate the force of a Mumpreneur…!

  14. 5th October 2009 / 7:29 pm

    Would they be called Dadpreneurs, or Dumpreneurs?

  15. 5th October 2009 / 7:40 pm

    On the one hand we want to be recognised for all that we do as a mum; school runs, cooking, cleaning etc… and then when we are we complain…
    Mumpreneur implies that not only are you taking care of the majority of the childcare but you manage to run a successful business simultaneously ie. you work damn hard!
    What can be degrading about that?
    As women why do we have to be so touchy about these things? We should just get on with it.
    I’d be proud to call myself a mumpreneur, if I was one 🙂

  16. 5th October 2009 / 8:15 pm

    Thanks so much to everyone for your comments. Obviously this is an issue where I’m not the only person to have strong feelings, which is always good to know.
    I agree with many of the posts here, and the view expressed by Louise that the term “mumpreneur” risks putting women into a business ghetto. The term has come to refer to a certain sort of small, homespun business and I think attaching the label risks limiting women’s aspirations and the potential of their business. As a major corporate, would I want to do business with a Mumpreneur? I think in some cases, the answer would be no.
    I agree with Antonia that it’s important for women to provide support to one another, and that women who are parents face challenges that are distinct from other start-ups. I also hugely agree that women with kids shouldn’t apologise for making their kids a priority and combining work and family life. So yes, I think conferences and networks and building awareness are important – but as Louise says, being a mumpreneur limits you, it isolates you from the rest of the business world. It DOES seem smug sometimes from the outside (I’m certainly not going to be classing myself as a mumpreneur any time soon) and it does bring with it certain connotations of fluffy, small, non-ambitious women.
    I can see why people like Little Mummy or Laura think this is being over-sensitive – but my point is that I’d have no issue with Mumpreneurs if there were Dadpreneurs – in other words if we just assumed that some business owners and entrepreneurs do combine work and family life. But mumpreneur carries with it an inherent suggestion that this is something WOMEN do – not men. So it’s sexist. As Cecilia says, it would never occur to someone to talk about male-owned businesses in this way.
    And I’m sorry but I refuse to take anyone seriously who justifies the use of mumpreneur by saying women should be congratulated for finding the time to run a successful business while still doing the ironing, cooking and cleaning. Holy Jesus, it’s 2009.
    I’d much prefer we just talk about women in business, or entrepreneurs, or ultrapreneurs, or family friendly working – really, anything that doesn’t carry with it an assumption about women’s roles, women’s limitations and the sorts of business that are appropriate for women to engage in.
    (Oh, and Natalie, I much prefer parent blogger to Mummy blogger!)

  17. 5th October 2009 / 8:34 pm

    Another great post and you’ve clearly hit on a bit of a nerve. I tend to agree with you – ‘mumpreneur’ is just another of those media-trendy buzz words, which will run it’s course and then be frowned upon and spurned. I think ‘Mummy Blogger’ is becoming a bit the same. There are some amazingly talented business women and writers out there – so why are we not simply referring to them as that?

  18. Nicola Erlich
    5th October 2009 / 11:06 pm

    Hi.
    Firstly I would like to congratulate you on writing a balanced, logical argument to the “mumpreneur” debate which is currently going on and seems to be causing a lot of emotions to run high in the “Mumpreneur” circles.
    Perhaps I was being naive or just hadnt thought it through but I honestly thought that the term “mumpreneur” also encompassed the dads who are the child carers also in the family home. After all, are mother and baby groups exclusively just for mothers and their children or are stay at home dads allowed to join too? Surely they are.
    I too have had several businesses before having children and also have set up 2 since having children.
    I avoid using the “mumpreneur” term for two main reasons when referring to myself.
    1. My companies do not deal with products and services that are aimed at children/families specifically so really unnecessary to wear this label in my working day.
    2. I am, like you say, uncomfortable with the term. If anything, I would prefer entrepreneur mum since I believe that my ability to have produced children bears absolutely NO reflection whatsoever, either positively or negatively, in my ability to run my businesses. Also, and maybe this is opening another can of worms, but since I mentioned that my products and services are not child/family related, then I actually do believe that the fact that I a mother, in charge of child care, would possibly jeopardise some business contacts sometimes.
    I appreciate that the term “mumpreneur” is a catchy one and also, in its day, it probably was 99.9% women who did take on the “child carer” role within the family.
    But things have changed and I think that the mumpreneur networkers need to brace themselves and indeed embrace that the term needs to be changed and that men who are responsible for the child care should feel welcome to this group.
    Over the past couple of weeks, I have been asking on Twitter @nicchick what the male equivalent of the mumpreneur is and also what is the actual definition of a mumpreneur. I have been told that it is a WAHM, Work At Home Mum, but surely the term is wider than that. Surely mums who work outside of the home but in their own business are also considered to be mumpreneurs?
    The most appropriate definition I have found is that it is a mum who has her own business but is also responsible for the child care in the family.
    This isnt a question of a PC term or a woman’s right to be part of a niche network. Surely the network is about parents juggling responsiblities of parenthood and working within their own business?

  19. 5th October 2009 / 11:02 pm

    As I read all these thoughtful and incisive comments, the one thing that struck me was that being a Mum in this day and age is not enough.
    How often have you heard apologies or even apologised yourself for being a Mum either by adding that you work at home, or that you will be going back to work or just taking a break from work until your children start full time school.
    Being the indiviual who takes on the majority of the stay-at-home parental role is the single most important job in our society in order that our children/the next generation are brought up to contribute fully to the community in a postive frame.
    Perhaps if the law, the government and society at large recognised this simple fact then quite possibly many of society’s ills would be reduced. Perhaps that’s too radical a thought.

  20. Louise
    5th October 2009 / 11:08 pm

    I think that if there was a large enough group of fathers who worked from home while being responsible for all the childcare they would be known as Dadpreneurs. But without meaning to generalise men aren’t exactly known for their multitasking skills.
    I have to agree with Laura, I don´t have a problem with the term Mumpreneur. It does a good job of describing my life, I spend my time juggling looking after my son with running a business.
    I personally don’t find it restricting at all. I don´t only network with other Mumpreneurs but I enjoy doing so as we face the same challenges, challenges which business men and women who can focus 100% on their business just do not face.
    Would I still think of myself as a Mumpreneur once my son is less dependent and is at school? Probably not.

  21. Amanda
    6th October 2009 / 8:14 am

    I’m not a fan of the word mumpreneur, however I’m happy to be “labelled” as one. I would never have become entrepeneurial had I not become a mum. I wasn’t born an entrepeneur. I didn’t grow into an entrepeneur. Becoming a mum and looking for ways to juggle that and work, turned me into one. Therefore I am a mumpreneur.
    Women who are in business and flying high in the entrepeneurial world likely do not juggle the amount of things a mum working from home and growing a small business does. They are entrepeneurs. For me, being a mum comes first, and my businesses come second. That’s why I am a mumpreneur.
    I’m sure the word mumpreneur doesn’t prevent people from buying Antonia’s book and finding it useful to them, and it clearly didn’t repulse enough people from coming along to the conference as the day proved a success.

  22. 6th October 2009 / 9:58 am

    @Nicola – yes, I agree with just about everything you say. It does seem to have roused some emotion, with one blogger commenting that I was “taking the shine” off the Mumpreneur Conference. That’s certainly not my intention – I’m very supportive of women’s efforts to succeed in business, and feel very strongly that networking is one way to support this. But… the term is perhaps outdated, carries too many negative connotations and perhaps (whisper it) ought to be changed.
    @Louise – interesting comment. I’m particularly interested that you won’t consider yourself a Mumpreneur once your son starts school – but what if you’re not able to drop the label at that point? Will you find it limiting then, do you think?
    @Amanda – it’s great that you’re able to balance your family and a thriving business. I think your experience perhaps comes closest to what was the original inspiration for the term ‘mumpreneur’ – someone whose children actively inspired their business.
    I’ll just say, though, I’m not ‘repulsed’ by the term, and I’m certainly not criticising the book. I’m a feminist and I’ve also studied language – so I do feel strongly that words carry a lot of influence in culture, and we should choose them wisely and thoughtfully, is all.

  23. Natalie
    6th October 2009 / 1:10 pm

    I think if I wasn’t sure about the term ‘mumpreneur’ before, a couple of comments raised concerns for me about using it. I appreciate that labels take on a different meaning to people, but I think it says a lot when people are using a word that doesn’t seem to have a defined meaning. I understood it to be a label for a mum who is an entrepreneur.
    @Amanda I understand your perspective but it concerns me that you don’t consider mumpreneur’s to be entrepreneurs! Your comment also suggests that a woman cannot fly high in the entrepreneurial world if she has children.
    Never before have we, as women, had as much opportunity as we do now to create the type of working lifestyle we want. The internet has opened many doors and has freed people, not just women, to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. This in itself is something to be celebrated and I personally am delighted that no longer does being a mum signify the arrival of a coating of dust on your career or opportunities. That said, I also think it’s important that the right tone is created and that being an entrepreneur who has children doesn’t become someone who has a little rinky dink business to bring a few pennies in.

  24. Sam
    13th October 2009 / 11:12 am

    Wow. I didn’t realise quite how much of a debate this had become.
    I, personally, can see both sides of the argument. A mumpreneur is not intended to be a second-class citizen to an entrepreneur, rather more (in the ultrapreneur style) someone who does what an entrepreneur does and achieves what and entrepreneur achieves AS WELL AS being a mum.
    I truly didn’t appreciate that those without children could find it smug, as I have children, but I can see their point of view too. I don’t think it is intended to be smug, cliquey or elitist, but it is in danger of becoming so.
    It is quite right that it is not a searched for term, so mumpreneurs are in danger of falling into the ‘ghetto’, but only if they define themselves solely as mumpreneurs.
    I have my own businesses. I am a mum. I do not sell baby products or services. I don’t actively refer to myself as a mumpreneur, but would look at sites and information related to mumpreneurs. If someone else called me a mumpreneur I wouldn’t mind- but nor would I mind if they didn’t.
    In the same way as people who feel labels such as mumpreneur should not be used, could we all not accept business women as business women whatever they, or the media, call themselves?

  25. 21st October 2009 / 10:13 am

    If I was a mumpreneur I’d run with it as a USP and use the tag while it’s fashionable to get some more exposure for me or my business.
    I think there is an element of sexism in it though.

  26. L. Covey
    21st October 2009 / 11:23 am

    What a sad, strange culture we have become that this is considered a serious issue. The idea that this title determines whether or not a woman is taken seriously, is to say the least, quite debatable. I wonder what is the phrase or word that has allowed men to be so stereotyped that someone can make a sexist comment such as “men don’t know how to multitask” without any objections raised.

  27. 21st October 2009 / 1:04 pm

    @Craig – yes, from a PR perspective, it’s a useful tag at the moment, certainly.
    @L.Covey – I’m not sure what you mean, sorry. I don’t think all sexism necessarily stems from language, but I do think language can ‘normalise’ sexism and make it seem acceptable.
    I certainly don’t think it’s sad or strange to think carefully about whether the words we use as women encourage others to view us in limited ways, or to ghettoise us, as others have commented. Language doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and I think it’s important to be aware of the power that words can hold. Sorry if I’ve misunderstood you, though.

  28. gigi
    25th November 2009 / 11:46 pm

    Very very interesting debate here. And as a ‘mumpreneur’ of sorts and a blogger and businessmum I have mixed feelings like many other women commenting here.
    For example. For many of the business owners that we list on MumsRock, the tag mumpreneur is one that is worn with a certain amount of pride. It represents that unique struggle that may women go through when they go from person to parent. It specifically represents those challenges you face trying to adjust to a world where it’s not just about you anymore. And at the same time with frankly very strange timing – you’re super-inspired to do something that is suddenly more meaningful with your life. And I think all of these things are positive, and if it creates a feeling of empowerment of accessibility (ie: if it’s a movement – then why not me?) then this is valid, important and should be reason enough to let the damn word alone.
    And on the other hand ‘mumpreneur’ totally buys back into that whole crappy ‘mum’ thing. The weakness of a name, the way it’s bandied about by just about everyone to clump you into an unimportant little lump of people. GRRRRR. One of our very first posts on MumsRock (almost a year ago) was about all the reasons we hated the ‘mum’ word for the very same reasons (with a fair amount of jokes thrown in for good measure)… http://www.mumsrock.com/forums/anything-goes/the-mum-word
    Maybe we should be doing one for the mumpreneur word now? All suggestions gratefully received!
    Finally – lets’ not forget that sometimes women can be their own worst enemy. Ever heard of the imposter syndrome? It’s almost always about a woman who keeps thinking that one day she’ll get ‘found out’. That’s us and our own perceptions. So maybe we should save the energy we expend on debating the new terms that lazy media bums come up with to herd us together like cattle….and just get on with taking over the world?

  29. 28th November 2009 / 5:35 pm

    I think you raise some really interesting points – why do women in business need to be labelled? By the same token, I think the whole ‘mumpreneur’ phenomenon is something of a double-edged sword… on the one hand it gives encouragement to certain women, who for whatever reason may not have had as much success in the working environment until they became mothers and had that eureka moment to start a baby-related or some sort of work-from-home business. The empowerment such women may feel from being referred to as a ‘mumpreneur’ should not be underestimated or overlooked. If it instils women with the confidence to go it alone, then great!
    On the other and for many other women I can see how the term can be perceived as a bit condescending; especially if you had a successful career prior to becoming a mother. You may have launched your own business in response to not being able to continue your chosen career on the flexible basis which your new family commitments now require. Or you may have had enough of working for someone else and the decision to go solo simply coincides with your entry into motherhood. It doesn’t mean you don’t already have established business credentials.
    Either way, I don’t necessarily think it’s anything for women to be offended by. I think we should be actively encouraging women to succeed in the business world. Given recent press coverage of the ‘mancession’ we seem to be in, with men being worst affected by recession-induced job losses, I don’t think we need too much more encouragement. Women in business are on the rise and we’re definitely here to stay!

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