By Filomena Fanelli, CEO/Founder, Impact PR & Communications, Ltd.
I may get some backlash on this one, but I’m going to be brave and just say it: I hate the cutesy names assigned to female entrepreneurs and women in leadership positions.
You’ve probably heard a few of them, flippantly called someone one of these names or, if you’re a female, maybe even identified yourself this way without giving it a second thought. Mompreneur. Lady boss. Femmepreneur. Career woman. Girl boss. Business mama. Mommy mogul. And my least favorite – boss babe.
So, what’s the big deal with all of these labels? In a word, they are minimizing. Long before my husband and I had our two fabulous children, we worked hard and were leaders. We achieved great things and dared to take risks. I’ve never once called my husband a career man or a working dad – and I’d rather not put those qualifiers on myself.
I spend my days as a professional communicator counseling clients about the power behind word choice and the importance of positioning and messaging. I carefully craft copy and ask businesses to consider how they are portrayed in the media and among their target audiences. Shouldn’t I – and my fellow entrepreneurs and executives, particularly in the public relations and communications industry – do the same?
As we head more deeply into election season and an international spotlight is placed on Hillary Clinton’s presidency bid, the message we send to the men and women around the boardroom table, and to a future generation of leaders, becomes that much more important. Is Clinton a presidential candidate or a lady leader? Am I a woman running a business or a girl boss?
If I pass on an interview for a mompreneur radio show or turn my nose up at the thought of a cutesy hashtag announcing my #BossBabe status, it’s because I want my two daughters to know that they are more than simply female. If we take the focus off the size of a woman’s heels, her attire (who cares if I wear a form-fitting dress or a modest pantsuit?) and her family size and place it back where it belongs, on her business acumen, we’ll be well on our way to true gender equality. Before that can happen, we all – women included – need to mind our words.