It isn’t ‘WOMEN’ in BUSINESS…
It’s ‘BUSINESS’ in WOMEN!
By Sherry Hanes
Phew! Where to start?
For literally centuries, women, the female counterpart of procreation,have been restlessly but, most indubitably and passionately, wanting to be in the business of business! It is just a natural, innate feeling to want to make the world a better place for everyone, while having a sense of great purpose. Call it entrepreneurship, if you will, … but we like to think of it as, exciting and game changing for our times and for everyone’s future. In the world of commerce, politics, national and international law making, amending and dare I say…abolishment of such, not to mention entertainment, inventions and war … women have, and will continue to push their way through corporate, societal and stereotypical boundaries, the world over, for the dissolution of our prehistoric ideas about ‘Whom is at the helm’? It is truly, not any one person’s fault about our earlier concepts but, in the past, and sometimes even today, when it comes to the idea concerning, ‘Chain of Command’, it is sad to say that all kinds of egos have gotten in the way of advancement and notoriety of such. In other countries, women are seriously repressed, in unimaginable ways, in societal status, religion, position within their domestic environment, education and in business.Collectively, we are happy to say that most countries and people of today are moving forward, together, more and more, by working together, advancing together, and most importantly, opening up the doors together that were once barred shut and by removing boundaries, that prohibited the ‘weaker sex’, if you will, from ever even having a thought about participating in the world of business.In most countries, people are now seeing that, when we work together, we can achieve and develop strategies to build strong economies, education systems, innovations and discoveries in science and medicine and yes … even in war peace keeping efforts, that require sensitive and strategic maneuvering.We are not always fortunate enough to know every person who affords fairness for equality when it comes to gender status, but we do know this…many persons, over mostly, the past 60 years or so, have supported the idea of ‘women in business’.Here is a bit of history on the subject of Women in Business or should I say…The Business in Women…Since none of us actually knows who the first woman in business was, we will start here, with one of Canada’s amazing, entrepreneurs, born in 1878, in Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada…
“Drum roll please!!!”… Florence Nightingale Graham…No! Not thee Florence Nightingale, foundational philosopher of modern nursing, although she was absolutely amazing as well...The Florence we are going to introduce to you is, Florence Nightingale GRAHAM, (Born December 31, 1878 – October 18, 1966), otherwise known as, and who went by the business name of Elizabeth Arden. You read that correctly….The iconic female counterpart, that ultimately changed the major aesthetical, attributes of not only women in the world, but the conceptualization of and interpretations of, the forbidden ‘War Paint’!Elizabeth Arden was a Canadian American businesswoman who founded what is now Elizabeth Arden, Inc., and built a cosmetics empire in the United States. By 1929 she owned 150 upscale salons across the United States and Europe. Her 1000 products were found in the luxury market in 22 countries. She was the sole owner, and at the peak of her career she was one of the wealthiest women in the world. Her parents had emigrated to Canada from Cornwall, United Kingdom, in the 1870s. Her father, William Graham, was Scottish, and her mother, Susan, was Cornish and had arranged for a wealthy aunt in Cornwall to pay for her children's education. Arden dropped out of nursing school in Toronto. Elizabeth Arden was largely responsible for establishing makeup as proper and appropriate—even necessary—for a ladylike image, when before makeup had often been associated with lower classes and prostitutes. She targeted middle age and plain women for whom beauty products promised a youthful, beautiful image. ‘Elizabeth Arden’, Florence Nightingale Graham, wasn’t just ‘another pretty face’!Florence worked for beautician Eleanor Adair as a “treatment girl”. For almost a year she gained valuable industry experience, and in 1910 she invested $1,000 to start a salon with a partner, Elizabeth Hubbard. Located on Fifth Avenue, the partnership, soon dissolved and Graham became sole proprietress, and began operating under the name Elizabeth Arden. Graham took the name from Elizabeth I and Tennyson’s well, known verse, Enoch Arden. She added a huge red door to her office with a brass name plate, something that would become the hallmark of Elizabeth Arden salon’s later. “It’s remarkable what a woman can accomplish with just a little ambition”, she was to say.Blue indigo dye, is the blue often associated with denim cloth and blue jeans.
1739 Eliza Lucas Pinckney, was America's first important agriculturalist for introducing blue indigo dye into continental North America. She was born in Antigua in 1722, an island in the West Indies. Eliza attended a finishing school in London England, where she developed a love for botany. Botany is plant science, plant biology or phytology. It is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or Phytologist, is a scientist who specializes in this field. The term "botany" comes from the Ancient Greek word meaning "pasture", "grass", or "fodder"; is in turn derived from, "to feed" or "to graze". When she was still young, her family moved to the U.S., and her father acquired three plantations. At the age of 16, Pinckney took over the plantations near Charles Town, in the Province of South Carolina, after her mother died and her father, a British military officer, returned to the West Indies. After realizing that the growing textile industry was creating a need for new dyes, Pinckney began making a high-quality blue indigo dye in 1739. Her creation was a success and soon Indigo ranked second to rice as a South Carolina export crop. She went on to produce flax, hemp, silk and figs. Pinckney died in 1793, but her legend lives on. She became the first woman inducted into the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame in 1989. Indigo dye is an organic compound with a distinctive blue color (see indigo). Historically, indigo was a natural dye extracted from the leaves of certain plants, and this process was important economically because blue dyes were once rare. A large percentage of indigo dye produced today, several thousand tonnes each year, is synthetic.It is quite apparent, that when we pay attention, anything is possible! Another per-chance, billion-dollar idea in 1959, that has made a huge fortune and still does today, was when, Ruth Handler, came up with the idea of the Barbie Doll. Ruth literally changed cultural attitudes of how little girls played with dolls, after noticing that her daughter preferred to play with paper dolls that looked like adults. By creating the American Icon, Barbie doll, Ruth Handler, changed the way little girls would play and dream forever. Handler’s iconic innovation, has left her stamp on American culture forever. The idea of creating a doll that looked more like an adult was something her husband didn't think would sell. Despite opposite opinions, Handler went ahead and debuted Barbie (her daughter's nickname) at a New York toy fair in 1959. Handler and her husband, Elliot, were already selling dollhouse furniture and other toys through their company, Mattel, based out of their Hawthorne, California, garage and within five years, Mattel became a Fortune 500 company. In 1967, Ruth Handler became president of Mattel Inc., a position she stayed in until 1974. Barbie brings in more than $1 billion a year for Mattel and Ruth Handler’s legacy lives on today.
One does not have to be successful to be influential but, one can be influential, that leads to success. Success is the degree in which an individual or country finds themselves to be satisfied with their achievements. In business, success is measured by influencing monetary gain, affect change that produces a positive outcome, and/or achieving notoriety for contributions in policy setting, for all sorts of
corporations and financial institutions, national and international affairs, labour laws, scientific discovery, inventions and manufacturing, to name a few. There has been no time when the female counterpart has not played an important role in the world of business, either by direct or indirect, contribution or involvement. Women in business have always been in the ‘business’ of ‘business’, whether their contributions be recognized openly or hidden as a national secret. We celebrate all women in business, all over the world, and those yet to come. And we applaud those who run with us, who speak favourably of us, and who engage with us, as an integral part of a cog in the ‘wheel of the world’. Hope you enjoyed the article and thank you for reading it.