Is the Rise of the ‘Fempreneur’ Hurting Women in the Workplace?

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Self-defined “fempreneurs” are female business owners who occupy an increasing share of businesses ranging from startups to global brands. This gender-first personal branding is prevalent, but in the larger scheme of equality in the workplace, is it helping or hurting?

The natural assumption would be that “fempreneurship” aims to create a world in which women have permission to be feminine at work. This delineation is sometimes synonymized with “lipstick entrepreneurs” or “mompreneuers.” It would make sense if the movement and messaging centered around a culture in which traditionally masculine traits — like forthrightness, aggression and initiative — are counterbalanced by traditionally feminine traits like nurture or kindness. However, that appears to not be the case. Rather, “fempreneurs” are bold, intense and vying for a seat where decisions are made. These women appear to be passionate about leadership roles and freedom, which begs the question: Why self-define according to gender at all?

A few key voices have emerged over the last couple of years that have advanced a cultural shift for women in the workplace. While these figureheads are female, they would probably not call themselves “fempreneuers.” Their perspective provides helpful guidance as women decide whether to create their own playing field or continue to strive for a level one.

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