Our founder, Emma Sayle looks at why women have to be defined and labelled.
I’m not a big fan of labels, so often we — society — gives a movement or a moment a ‘label’ and so it becomes a ‘thing’. Rapidly that thing we’ve labelled becomes a bandwagon the masses try to elbow their way onto and, just like that, the message that was so key, to begin with, is lost, lost in a sea of society trying to exploit the very ‘thing’ we all bought in to in the first place.
So, women’s day, why just a day? Every day I celebrate being a woman, my own woman, an independent successful woman. Every single day I’m out there smashing through barriers that still exist. We should be celebrating being a woman every day; embracing our femininity, sexuality and our free choice — this is a free world isn’t it? Can’t we just exist along the lines that every single day is a human day?
Mumpreneur, it’s a term used so often. A pointless patronising label that screams “well done you, having a hobby and having kids”…super. By the same account, are dads referred to as Dadpreneur’s? No, they aren’t. Dads, men, launch a business and we call them entrepreneurs, commanding far greater respect than any mumpreneur title given! At the recent 11 Downing Street launch of the British Business Banks study into VC funding in female-founded businesses I had some very frank conversations with some male VC’s who said that there is an institutional subliminal judgment of female-founded businesses when the females are mums, confirming that there is still a feeling that it’s just a phase for them, just a hobby whilst raising children. Frankly, an entrepreneur is an entrepreneur…male, female, mum or dad.
Are we seriously still using the phrase ‘working mothers’? Yet another frustrating label. All mothers work. Being a mother is the most time consuming exhausting job in the world, I’ve got 3 kids under the age of 5 and I see office days as a mini-holiday — a place where I can re-group. I have huge respect for women whose job is 100% around the children and running their household. Is a ‘stay at home mum’s job less hard than a mother heading into an office? No way — these outdated attitudes need changing. I’m not men-bashing: I still regularly see an unhealthy amount of woman to woman judgment too, but by mums with jobs looking down noses at those who chose to stay at home as if they’ve failed womankind with their choice. It’s time we just support each other, unconditionally and in every way.
Alpha female is a label that shouldn’t be forgotten about either. The opinion that an alpha female is the most powerful at starting businesses or the best at success in a top job is inaccurate. Some of the most alpha females I personally know are actually some of the most insecure and equally controlling women I know, they’re women that fall into the same category we’ve given men, the alpha man label. Essentially, this group of people are those that are driven by ego. In reality, in every one of us is an alpha and beta, it’s self-awareness and the balance of both that actually matters, to give a female the alpha label doesn’t help any woman.
So on a day such as International Women’s Day, we should be celebrating choice. I choose to spend this week celebrating the fact that we as women in the free world have the freedom to choose. The freedom to be whatever and whoever we want, celebrate our careers, passion to start our own businesses, support our decisions to be a stay at home to be a mum, to work as a mum, to not have children and whatever the hell else we as women want to do.
Celebrate being open about our sexuality, being able to express ourselves however we see fit; if that’s naked in a photo owning our bodies, wearing a hijab, starting a business, pole dancing in a strip club, being a motor racing pit girl, being a hostess, being prime minister or a flying fighter jets…. as long as it’s our choice then don’t judge us.
Most importantly of all, let’s put an end to women judging other women for the different choices they’ve made, and if you’re a man reading this, please don’t assume you know what’s best for a woman. As humans let’s just let each other be…