'Mumpreneur Is A Sexist, Derogatory And Pointless Term.'

'Mumpreneur Is A Sexist, Derogatory And Pointless Term.'


The term 'mumpreneur' has sprung up in the last few years to describe the raft of women working from home around their children, and I simply cannot abide it.


It's sexist, derogatory, nauseating and undoes all the good work done by self-respecting women over the last hundred years. The word entrepreneur isn't gender-specific, so why on earth do we need to make it so?


Karen, from Oxfordshire, runs Pamper Parties for children as well as bringing up three kids of her own. She says grouping women like her under the umbrella of 'mumpreneur' is a useful way of networking with others in a similar situation. "Other mumpreneurs understand the juggling involved in running a business whilst bringing up children," she says. "A woman running a business has issues which a man doesn't face."

I simply don't agree, and it angers me that the use of this ridiculous term exacerbates the already cavernous divide between men and women at work. Cath Jones, blogger at www.thekrakenwakes.org and mother to four-year-old Ava, agrees. "I despise the term 'mumpreneur' because it's so patronising and discriminatory," she says.

"If you applied for a job and had to clarify whether you had kids it would be discrimination, so why must women have their parenting status writ large over their business? You never hear of dadpreneurs because they're just businessmen so I don't understand why women can't be afforded the same treatment."

Cath adds that however successful the woman in question may be, calling her a 'mumpreneur' immediately devalues her professionalism. "To many people 'mumpreneur' suggests that the woman behind the business is only available during school hours when the kids aren't home, treats her business like a hobby and is probably unavailable during school holidays or when one of the kids is ill."

I can't help but feel that we women are trying to have our cake and eat it: on the one hand we shout for equality, yet on the other we adopt a term which focuses not on our business skills, but on our status as a mother. It totally undermines our own argument.

So what do the men think about the term? John Laroche is a father of one from Surrey with another due to arrive any moment. John, who runs his own PR business, says: "I object to the phrase 'mumpreneur' for a variety of reasons but primarily because it is patronising to women.


A successful female businesswoman should be judged on her success, not on the fact she happens to be a mother.


"In earlier times the phrase may have had some merit but in the 21 century I don't think women in business face any challenges that men don't. I have to worry about childcare as much as winning the next client and if anyone called me a dadpreneur I'd laugh at them.

"If you want to draw attention to the fact someone is an entrepreneurial mother why stop at calling them mumpreneur? Why not conceived-naturally-preneur, conceived-by-IVF-preneur or father-is-the-Ocado-delivery-man-preneur?


Mumpreneur is a daft, outdated and ultimately divisive phrase.


But the growing numbers of supporters suggest the term is here to stay. In fact there are so many self-proclaimed 'mumpreneurs' that lawyer Suzanne Dibble has quit the corporate world for good, and established Lawyers4mumpreneurs.

"I class myself as a 'mumpreneur' because I don't have full time childcare for my daughter – I work around her naptimes and in the evenings and arrange childcare for when I have a meeting or a call I can't schedule around naptimes."

Suzanne explains that 'mumpreneurs' have distinct needs, so it makes sense to define them with one label. "Mumpreneur networking groups hold events at times avoiding the school run and in venues that offer childcare facilities, and mumpreneur conferences provide advice and support tailored to mumpreneurs."

Suzanne says that whilst many of her clients' businesses revolve around baby products, this isn't always the case. "The perception might be that mumpreneur businesses are hobbylike, but a lot of my mumpreneur clients are building fantastic businesses that any entrepreneur would be proud of.

"And for many mumpreneurs, success is not about building up their business to a million pound turnover. It is about successfully balancing spending time with their children whilst still keeping them intellectually stimulated and if that means that their business is kept to a small scale and 'hobby-like' whilst their children are young, so be it."

If that works for Suzanne and her clients, then I'm delighted for them, but you won't catch me using the term. Frankly the last thing I want to emphasise when I'm touting for business, is the fact that I've got three bawling infants who might impact on my work.

Like Suzanne, I work around my children. I schedule meetings during school hours, work in the evenings and have on several occasions hidden under the bed to take a conference call in peace. It's a juggling act, but it's one familiar to anyone with children; male or female, employed or self-employed. It's not reserved for 'mumpreneurs' – whoever they are.

What do you think? Is the term mumpreneur useful short hand or derogatory?