A few months ago the New York Times highlighted three very different books about female entrepreneurship.
Unless you are Oprah, Martha Stewart or Diane Von Furstenburg, being a female entrepreneurs means your are going to face obstacles that male entrepreneurs do not. And even these three women probably had big hurdles to overcome before they were household names.
As a women business owner, I find it very encouraging to read about other female business owners and how they became successful, especially those who created a business without family money or well-connected husbands.
The three books were:
– The Dressmaker of Khair Khana is about female entrepreneurs in war zones and tells the story of Kamila Sidiqi, who built a thriving dressmaking business in Afghanistan while living under Taliban rule. How’s that for an obstacle – war zone AND the Taliban?
–Single. Women. Entrepreneurs -while much is written about so-called mompreneurs, who are often married, their single sisters are seldom addressed as a group. The author of this book set out to explore their strategies, challenges (which include doing without the safety net of a second income), and advantages (like greater flexibility). Surprisingly single, divorced, and widowed women start more businesses than their male counterparts.
–Minority Women Entrepreneurs-How Outsider Status Can Lead to Better Business practices, written by Mary Godwyn and Donna Stoddard two professors at Babson College. Initially they hoped merely to highlight the accomplishments of minority female owners who tend to be ignored in business school case studies even though they start businesses at four timesthe rate of non-minority women and men (the book does not explore the reasons for this disparity).
Instead, through interviews with women who self-identified as minority group members, they were surprised to find these business owners, while profit-minded, shared a determination to use socially conscious business practices and rejected the notion that financial and societal goals are mutually exclusive. Because of their outsider status, minority women can more readily see the flaws in doing “business as usual,” said Ms. Godwyn. They are also forced to find innovative solutions, she said, in a world that is often dismissive of their talents.
I can really relate to that last sentence because the 20 years I worked in corporate America regardless of the sales quotas I exceeded, I felt that my talents and contributions were marginalized. And just so you know, I am one of the business owners that Mary and Donna interviewed for the book.