I routinely read about new business opportunities,
especially those that are described as being easy to get into.
Freelancing, becoming a virtual assistant, selling crafty projects… these are all business ventures that are described as having particularly low barriers to entry.
But more than a few times, I’ve seen such entrepreneurial building blocks described as “perfect for a stay-at-home-mom.”
Since when did “low barrier to entry” mean the same thing as ‘mom-friendly’?
At the very least, we need to pay attention to the fact that what a parent who isn’t in the workforce does varies a lot.
There are parents who stay home with the kids because a child needs a high level of care.
There are parents who drop the kids off at school and have free time every day.
What works for one parent who “stays at home” is certainly not going to work for the next.
But that’s not the whole picture.
Describing a business venture as perfect for a stay-at-home-mom has some connotations that we need to fight back against.
Building up a new business isn’t easy, and parents don’t have any more room for failure than non-parents.
There is an ugly assumption that if a woman stays at home with her kids, she has more room to fail in her business.
Starting up a business selling crafts can be incredibly difficult: it’s easy enough to sell things at a price that replaces materials, but reaching a price point that actually rewards the crafter for her time and creativity is tough.
The simple truth is that not everyone is cut out for it.
So why suggest business opportunities with less monetary rewards to women who happen to have kids and not be in a position to participate in the work force?
Because stay-at-home-moms seem likely to have a cushion; someone else paying the bills.
These sorts of labels are dangerous, more so when we don’t think about them.
Suggesting that a particular kind of business venture is right for someone just because of a general label, is not so very different from saying that a particular business venture is right for someone because of their gender in general.
More from Women in Business:
- Why you might want an entire staff of “over-qualified” folks, by Patricia Frame
- Thursday asks, should your family be part of your branding?
Image by Flickr user Brian Smith, Creative Commons
Thursday Bram offers content marketing through Hyper Modern Consulting, as well as more traditional writing services. She’s also the co-creator of Constructively Productive, the blog that’s bringing perspective to productivity. You can find Thursday on Twitter.