September 28, 2006

Home-based business


Nearly half of all U.S. businesses are run from home, and most companies owned by women are home-based, according to a government report released on Wednesday.

The data, showing 56 percent of female-owned businesses are run from home, illustrates how women opt to work from home for an array of family reasons, workplace experts say.

Via Feministing:

The word "opt" always makes me nervous. I mean are women *really* opting to stay at home? Or is it because a) they can't afford day care and b) it is difficult for women to advance in the corporate world?

My mom runs her own, moderately successful, business, designing homes and drafting plans thereto, out of her home. After she finished her AA when I was in junior high, she started work at the one sizable architecture firm in her small town. For almost two years, she spent 40 hours a week filling in the details of someone else's designs in AutoCAD and dealing with the mild resentment and harassment of her (nearly all male) coworkers. Eventually, she was fired, essentially for being too independent to simply draw someone else's ideas but not having the education needed to be a fully fledged architect (there's a complicated licensing process involved for future architects without a Master's degree, and her firm didn't want to pay for it). Also, she refused to go out with one of her superiors.

I was already driving, and my brother was in junior high, with a busy sports schedule; her reasons for `opt[ing] to work from home' had nothing to do with the family. It was a necessity born of simple discrimination against a housewife turned professional once her children were grown and the divorce was finalized.

(Yeah, okay, my mom as feminist parable is stretching things just a bit, but the point remains: her unusual career path and her gender made starting her own business a necessity; she didn't `opt' for anything but the career she loves instead of cutting hair or waitressing until she was 70.)

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