Meet Steve Johnson. Between making lunches and reading bedtime stories, the everyday father of two has been busy designing and selling ties, scarves and other men’s accessories to snazzy businessmen.
And it’s making his life easier too, this Dadpreneur is able to earn a living, and still watch The Wiggles with his two toddlers.
If you’re beginning to think there’s something wrong with this picture you’d be right.
Steve doesn’t exist.
And if he did, he’d more likely be introduced as: Steve Johnson – the young entrepreneur and designer, supplying cutting-edge fashion to style-conscious corporate consumers in the largely untapped men’s accessories market.
Whether or not he is a father or working from a home office would be an insignificant piece of trivia.
Place a mother in his shoes, and the former description sets a more familiar tone.
When it comes to women in business, if you happen to have children, you’re in a league of your own. The Mumpreneur league.
It’s the customary buzz word, loved by the media, used to describe mothers who have created businesses, usually run from home, in order to spend more time with their children.
The question is – why? Why is there a need to segregate female entrepreneurs who have children from the rest of the entrepreneurial community?
While it’s no doubt important for many women to establish careers that allow them to accommodate the needs of their children, is it helpful – or necessary –to lump them into a stereotypical sub-group?
It’s a booming community, or so it seems. In reality though, the entrepreneurial, work-from-home mother is not a new invention, its rise coinciding with that of the internet and advances in technology, which has allowed many women (and men) the ability to run successful businesses from home.
It’s the distinction by title and the announcement of their motherhood status which is relatively new and increasingly prominent.
Unsurprisingly we don’t apply equivalent terminology to men.
Ever heard of a businessman being descried as a Dadpreneur? Or a male writer dubbed a Daddy Blogger?
The use of the term Mumpreneur feels condescending and – by the nature of its use – is helping perpetuate the idea that mothers are somehow a different species.
On the flip-side though, its very use has enabled those who embrace it to receive increased publicity for their businesses, and many women are proud to call themselves Mumpreneurs.
“Feminism has come a long way, but it’s not quite there,” says Peace Mitchell, Co-Founder of Connect2Mums and the AusMumpreneur Network, whose community includes more than16,000 members.
“Still responsible for the majority of housework and care of children, women are turning their back on their corporate careers and looking for options – the Mumpreneur movement is all about enabling this to happen.”
It’s also encouraged other mothers to turn ideas into reality, making running a business seem like an achievable goal.
But far from running hobby businesses, many so-called Mumpreneurs have multi-million dollar businesses and have built globally recognised brands.
They are are proud of their achievements – proud of the fact that they’ve successfully combined business and motherhood – and so they should be.
So why the need for this exclusive, colloquial title?
These women are entrepreneurs… they just happen to have children.