Who am I?
I’ve been reflecting on identity recently after having seen posts and rants from other women in the entrepreneurial space who firmly reject titles such as “mompreneur” and “boss babe” and “girl boss” as being infantilizing and othering. These ladies want us to embrace being bosses regardless of our gender.
I’m not so sure that these titles are implicitly empowering or disempowering but I do think it’s important to acknowledge the differences that exist for women entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs of colour or any group which has different experiences to the dominant group.
Recently, as it gets closer to the third anniversary of her passing, I’ve been thinking a lot of the woman who inspires me the most: my grandmother, Elizabeth Rosalind Maitland. My grandmother became a single mom at the age of 19. She never got to go to high school, but single-handedly raised my mother to become a university educated teacher. Her side-hustles, which continued into her late 60s, helped me go to one of the world’s best universities and get a law degree without going into crushing debt.
My grandmother, who was super smart and a savvy businesswoman, never went to high school because she was a girl even though she had better grades than her brother who got to go. My grandmother obtained the land that my parents leveraged to start a business because she bailed out her brother who had been given it because he was the only boy amongst four sisters.
Although things have changed since my grandmother was a young woman, we do still live in a society where things are different if you are a woman or a person of color.
Me being a black woman and being a mother of three has an impact how I am in this world, including how I am as a lawyer and as an entrepreneur; that is an undeniable fact. The type of work I take on, the hours I work, the importance to me of creating a legacy, how I interact with my clients, all stem from my status as a woman and as a mother.
I #choosetochallenge the status quo as a lady boss, as a Mompreneur TM, as a boss babe because the experiences I have had in this world as a woman have led me to this point.
This Women’s Day, I am thrilled to see how far we’ve come and happy that more of us are whatever we choose to be, because that’s what our moms and grandmothers wanted for us – to have the choice to be whoever we wanted.