I stuffed up.
Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to speak to the female delegates of the international organization MGI Africa during their annual conference in Mauritius. The theme was what helped me in my journey as a mumpreneur in our very male-dominated and sexist Mauritian society. And as I prepared my presentation, I realized that I – a proud female entrepreneur surrounded by numerous other strong women – had contributed to the dominant male mode of operation that exists in the business world here.
During that meeting last Saturday, I spoke, among other things, about the vital role of mentors throughout my career. Mentoring – formally or informally – is a great way to receive advice, support, and create a safe entrepreneurial environment that helps one progress. Over the past 20 years, my mentors have taken many forms and shapes: some were my lecturers or bosses, like the late president of the International Public Relations Association, Chris Skinner, or Father Philippe Goupille after the riots of February 1999; some were clients or friends in the business world; some were professional coaches or other entrepreneurs like me. And as I thought about the mentors in my journey, I realized that most of those I consider as being or having been my mentors are men!
Conclusion: starting with myself, in our quest for advice and support, how many of us, women in the business world, fully recognize the immense potential within our own community of women? How many of us do not go beyond competition to support and collaborate with each other?
Hence my resonating “I have stuffed up”.
Serious international research shows that women worldwide are less likely to consider entrepreneurship as a career choice, largely because they do not see other women entrepreneurs as role models. And when one does not perceive other women as business models, they do not become the guides towards whom one would naturally go for advice.
I am eternally grateful for my male mentors, all these guardian angels who have been sent to me in the past 20 years and have greatly influenced (and still do) my journey. Wouldn’t have made it without them. I cherish you all! But perhaps having more female mentors would have helped me gain perspectives on female issues in the business world. Things like “how to best manage the guilt of being a too busy working mom” or access to funding for a mumpreneur, when research shows that women are often excluded from financing networks that are mainly male-dominated and heavily rely on friend recommendations.
If I have one piece of advice for younger mumpreneurs, it is to include more female mentors in your respective professional journeys. At best, they will have extraordinary experiences to share that will enlighten you and provide solutions, while making you feel less alone in this sometimes scary world of fempreneurship. At worst worst worst, you will get zero insight but may get a new friend. Win-win.
Click to read: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/mgiworld.com_mgiworldwide-globalaccountingnetwork-togetherwearestronger-activity-7093509599374254080-V-Ib/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_ios