Does the gender label ‘female entrepreneur’ do more harm than good?

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Gender label helpful or not

There is more than one gender label out there that does women a disservice, including angry feminist. But perhaps some are less obvious than that one – indeed, I’ve used the phrase “female entrepreneur” on many occasions online and in person. But not everyone agrees with its usefulness. Let’s look at both sides.

The word entrepreneur stands alone

As Susan Guillory of Forbes writes, the gender label “female entrepreneur” and “woman entrepreneur” are arbitrary. What this means is that the main topic ought to be entrepreneurship rather than the gender of the person in this role.

Susan further explains, “I don’t want special treatment because I’m a woman. I want to succceed-and have, over the 13 years I’ve owned my marketing firm-based on merit and my ability to kick a$$ at what I do.”

She also rejects the phrase “mompreneur,” using the argument that “it’s not commendable; it’s life.” She also says that “dadpreneur” is rarely used because “it just comes with the territory.” [See the next section for why I disagree with that].

Furthermore, her argument is that the differences in entrepreneurial styles are not by gender but instead by different individuals, regardless of whether they are male or female. So, while she acknowledges in the Forbes article that there are gender differences, that’s not the focus behind why some people are successful and others are not.

How the phrase ‘female entrepeneur’ has merit

Firstly, I do not agree with Susan’s reason for rejecting the gender label “mompreneur.” I actually think women deserve to get fair attention for their role as moms and as business women. I know how hard it is to be an entrepreneur because I am one and then I look at my friend with 3 kids who also runs her own business and she runs after her kids literally at the same time too.

Do we both have challenges? Yes. Does she have more on her plate than me? Yes.

I think motherhood is a huge undertaking and one of the most commendable things is to be a parent. Both moms and dads deserve so much credit for the effort and sacrifices that go into raising a child into adulthood.

For physical aches like leg pain and swelling while pregnant, compression socks like those at https://legioncompressionsocks.com/collections/20-30-mmhg can help. Then there’s the mental toll, including the worry over your child’s wellbeing and safety; it can be overwhelming as a parent.

I do agree though with Susan’s point that as women we deserve to be recognized for our hard work. I’m just saying that it’s even harder to be an entrepreneur if you’re a mom, in my opinion, than if you’re not.

Also, I don’t take offense to her gender label “female entrepreneur” because I recognize that we’re still not getting the same opportunities career-wise as men – as shown by the glass cliff phenomenon.

While in an ideal world I would love for gender bias to be non-existant when making your wine tasting business or any other type of biz a success, we’re not there yet.

Furthemore, I use the label to help readers here find role models to read about who inspire them. As a woman, I want to read about other women who are rocking entrepreneurship as a way to motivate me.

By searching online using the word “female” I can find those prospective role models, with the hope that they’ll speak up about challenges that I go through and I can learn from them how best to deal with them. So being able to attach a “female” to the phrase is helpful for me looking to others for inspiration, and I think that my using it here at this website helps others in their quest for connection too.

Tell me what you think

What are your thoughts? Should the gender label “female entrepreneur” be tossed out? Is it useful?

11 COMMENTS

  1. Should we say; gay entrepreneur, black entrepreneur, trans entrepreneur, deaf entrepreneur, paraplegic entrepreneur, Roman Catholic entrepreneur, ad infinitum?
    How about a gay, black, female, paraplegic entrepreneur?
    I’m for no preface, and I am for women. I am for people.
    Whoever/whatever one is, research the the best. Know what the best are doing, how they got there, etc. Learn from the best: woman, man, gay, Asian, whomever, then execute your entrepreneurship.
    Labels can be defining, but may not present a complete picture.

  2. I’m sure that is true, Christy. When inequality happens, we all need to call it out. (men included) There are plenty of us males who feel that men and women should receive the same pay and benefits for doing the same job.

  3. Why not just entrepreneur? I don’t think there is any need to attach a gender label to it. It seems to me by adding “female” to the front of it, one is implying that this detail is of great importance. I would feel the same if someone wanted to be called a “male nurse.” If we want to break down gender stereotypes, than I’d vote for leaving that off a job title.

    • I wish female entrepreneurs had equal opportunity but unfortunately I’ve found that not to always be the case. I appreciate your sharing your opinion, Pete. Getting conversations going is absolutely the way forward!

    • My view, for what its worth, Pete and Christy, is that it is more difficult to be a working mom or entrepreneur for the simple reason that women generally still carry most of the responsibilities for raising the children and looking after the home. In the corporate world of equal pay for equal work it has to be a level playing field. I have noticed the women tend to expect special treatment and dispensations if they are mothers and I don’t agree with that. If you want to compete in the corporate world, then you must compete equally to the men and employ others to take over your responsibilities as a mother and homemaker. That is what equal means. The alternative, is that you step back like I did, and put your children first at the cost of further promotion. Interestingly enough, for me, the eventually they offered me the promotion anyway because I am exceptionally good at what I do. Sadly, it was to late by the time they did and I didn’t want it any more.

    • I can always count on you to share your opinion and I appreciate that so much, Robbie. Whenever I post something that could be seen as controversial, I know I’ll rarely get a comment. You and Pete bring heart to the table and are part of a valuable discussion here. Sharing your experience Robbie will help many. It really is important as you say for women to delegate responsibility within the home. The work-home balance is difficult, if even achievable for a mom working outside the home. It’s a tough world, albeit such a blessing to have kids, and there are so many levels to this topic!

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