Is Being a Feminist Bad for Business?

I ask this question because I have just started a new group for women on Linkedin. I had several names for it but eventually came up with Feminist and Feminine Professional Women as it summed up what it was and didn’t encroach on any other group names in LinkedIn. This is the purpose of the group:

This group is for professional women who want to get ahead in their careers,  to network, share advice, share stories, etc, but who don’t want to have to behave like men to do so.

I invited lots of my connections to join me and most have but I have had one or two comments back saying the fact that the f word is in the title is putting them off. One woman said:

I know it’s sad but I don’t want potential employers to see ‘so and so has joined a Feminist group’ on Linkedin.”

I suppose I shouldn’t be, but I am genuinely shocked. I quite understand women not wanting to join a group as they don’t feel it applies to them, but actually wanting to join but thinking having a ‘feminist’ label will disadvantage them! That’s a whole different matter.

Do you have experience of this? What do you think? Are you embarrassed to be called a feminist? Would it harm your career or business prospects? You may comment anonymously!

Photo Credit: Unknown, ad from 1970s

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Posted on May 11th, 2011 by

6 Responses to “Is Being a Feminist Bad for Business?”

  1. Cathy Dean says:

    I think it’s a real shame the word “feminist” now comes with such a reputation and I think it’s time we reclaimed it! I’ll happily join your group and I would encourage other women who believe that we should be in charge of our own destinies to do the same, regardless of what their employers might think.

  2. I think the real issue is not what OTHERS think but how WE think.

    I think it also reflects how we stop or curtail our life due to our “perceived” views on how others will judge us.

    As you know I am a very proud Scottish Businesswoman. I believe in customer service, loyalty, fair treatment and would rather have a good reputation and a comfortable bank balance than a reputation for rough riding over people.

    I am also a lesbian – does that make me any less of a businesswoman or any less trustworthy? Those that think yes have to deal with their own prejudices .. after all I deal with heterosexuals on a daily basis without judging them
    Ive deliberately put my personal blog as my URL … if you want to see our business information the website is http://www.braescotland.com

  3. oops just noticed that my GRINS didnt show up! .. I did post the dealing with the heterosexuals comments with my tongue in my cheek .. honest!

    • Jane says:

      No, it’s OK I could see the grinning.
      Thanks Jayne for your very honest post. I hope people read your personal blog too. There are some wonderful stories on it. I’m really glad you’re out and proud ; I’ve been wanting to point people to your blog for a long time!

  4. I’m not shocked at all, sad as it is. I understand where these women are coming from but as a small business manager, I can say that I personally choose to express myself pretty freely, resulting in a clientele that I genuinely enjoy spending time with. I don’t want to work with people who find the idea of feminism off-putting. I try not to get too political, but feminism (or, as it could be called, anti-sexism) is not a political issue, it is a moral issue.

    Also have you read The Mary Kay Way by Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics? It’s a wonderful book about doing business using female strengths. One of my favorite books I’ve ever read. A quick, fun read. I’d highly recommend it.

    • Jane says:

      Hi Ali! I haven’t read the Mary Kay book but I will now. Haven’t heard of it, may be a US publication?

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