So last week, we celebrated Mother’s Day (not if you are in the USA, the Caribbean or Australia), and International Women’s Day. Women’s History Month you may recall is an American event and lasts the whole of March.
I ended the article last week asking you about your inspiring women and I am sure that after all the events which have been happening up and down the country, you may have a few more to add to that list!
The Lets Go! Business Hub at Enterprise Enfield held an International Women’s Day event which saw a great turn out. It was attended and presented by talented women from Enfield and surrounding areas.
Now unto my inspiring women. First and foremost I have to say that my mother, my aunts and my sisters are inspirational in the way that they have always worked hard and looked out for others. In line with this, I have chosen a few women who I believe had those traits yet were seen as controversial in their day as they ruffled a few business feathers!
The first inspirational woman I want to mention was born in 1867. Now, this may be a bit before your time, but this lady was ahead of her time.
Sarah Breedlove, known to many as Madam CJ Walker was one of the first African-American women to become a self-made millionaire through her range of hair care products. Sarah’s story starts with being orphaned by the age of 7 and, unfortunately, her struggles continued with more tragedy and hardship along the way. These did not stop her. If anything, these barriers motivated her and one such event was when Sarah started losing her hair through a skin condition. This became a catalyst that fuelled the need to find products which would benefit her and later, others. After becoming a highly successful business woman she was able to help her community through providing jobs, then later through philanthropy and as a Civil Rights campaigner.
Despite all her achievements according to Henry Louis Gates Jr in a piece written in The Root blog post:
‘Sarah’s industry had its critics, among them, leading black institution-builder of the day Booker T Washington, who worried (to his credit) that hair straighteners (and worse, skin-bleaching creams) would lead to the internalization of white concepts of beauty.’
Louis Gates Jr goes on to state that:
‘Perhaps she was mindful of this, for she was deft in communicating that her dream was not emulative of whites, but divinely inspired and like Turnbo’s Poro Method*,’ African in origin.
*This was a hair care method invented by another successful African- American Anne ‘Turnbo’ Malone, who founded a college which revolutionised African- American hair care.
Such outstanding women deserve to have more than a paragraph written about them, for more very good sources of information on her life journey.
For Sarah Breedlove, see http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0772003.html or http://www.biography.com/people/madam-cj-walker-9522174.
For Annie Malone, see http://www.freemaninstitute.com/poro.htm or http://www.anniemalone.com/annie-turnbo-malone.html.
Another outstanding woman was also a successful business woman and a human rights campaigner and according to The Telegraph:
‘….. had donated her £51 million fortune to good causes before her death.’ She was Dame Anita Roddick, who died in 2007.
Anita Roddick was born to Italian immigrants in the UK and was the founder of The Body Shop. According to Entrepreneur, wanting to support herself and her daughters at home while her husband travelled, Anita decided to sell natural products and was the first to object to cosmetics being tested on animals. She also ensured that the products her company sourced were ‘fairtrade’ products.
Being seen as a controversial figure seemed to be part and parcel of Anita‘s life. Leaving all her fortune to charity and good causes was enough to put Anita in the news. However, she was also known to have bought the rights to a name which was already used by an established American company and she allowed the takeover of The Body Shop in 2006 by a brand who used animal testing on its products.
For more about Anita Roddick‘s life, see, http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/197688 and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anita_Roddick.
Whether you like or loathe them, you cannot fail to admire strong personalities who despite setbacks or adversity, fight through to become successful pioneers in their field.
Hope you feel inspired to go out there, pursue your dream and do what you love!