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Why I Disagree With 'Keith Mann'

You don't have to be a man to be taken seriously

· women's issues,ky-lee hanson,business,feminism,entrepreneurship

I am sure you have seen the articles circulating about Penelope Gazin and Kate Dwyer, of Witchsy and their alias business partner, Keith Mann. The two female entrepreneurs were experiencing derogatory replies while working in a male dominated industry so they decided to pose as a male to be taken seriously. While these women are getting a lot of praise and support for what they did, I am here to share with you a different perspective. I am a feminist and I run a business based around women's empowerment with a goal to end sexism and stereotypes, as well as to provide a place for diversity. Being all these things, it may surprise you that I do not agree with what these women did.

I have experienced my share of sexism from grade school to running a business and every step in between; in both my personal life and career. Sure, we have all said, If I were a guy this probably wouldn't be happening. It is unfortunate that this is a reality and I am glad that once again this can of worms has been opened. However, what these women did is not an example of feminism. It does not support or empower women. It does the opposite. I have been reading comments and replies on many websites about this situation where more and more women are saying things such as, Good Idea! or, I do this too!

It's wrong.

What do I know? Well, similar to these women, I am a start up business that helps other entrepreneurs. They facilitate art, I facilitate books from start to finish. Similar to them, I too achieved over $200,000 in client work in my first year and generated over $80,000 in book sale revenue in 6 months.

And I did it without posing as a man.

In my company, we work with both men and women. Primarily women, but also with men who see us deserving of equal rights yet respect that women bring their own flare to the business world. I make sure that everyone I work with is clear on what I am good at and what I need help with. The Witchsy women are right in their articles to state that the web development world is male dominated, but there are plenty of organizations specifically dedicated to women in technology. For example, check out Jessica Naziri, CanWIT, TechWomen or Meetup groups. I know that it is unfortunate that women's groups need to exist and there is still a clear divide and sexism is real. However, we CAN change that. We CAN empower ourselves by empowering others and by working with like minded people. If we keep forgetting to give people a chance and continue to put on a male-mask and support those that do not support us back... we are going to get nowhere. When we spend our dollar strategically, it makes a very big impact. Help other women get ahead, help supportive men get ahead. That will be the biggest wake-up call to derogatory, sexist companies. They will wonder where did all their clients go, and why? The point here is, hire people that respect you and respect them back. Money talks, and who we choose to hire and support is a reflection of us and our companies. I hire mostly women but do not exclude. It is about having a common goal, respect, and understanding. My web developer is male but also a feminist. It is not impossible to find.

This situation got media attention but there is an important message missing; you CAN be yourself and be successful. Be assertive, be honest, lead and work with the right people; support and pay people that are respectful, and make sure that as a client you are respectful in your requests to them as well. Be a kickass bosswoman and be proud of that.

You can get just as far being a woman and letting people know you are one.

header image: Penelope Gazin and Kate Dwyer, co-founders of Witchsy, invented Keith. Composite: Courtesy of Witchsy/Getty Images


Ky-Lee Hanson is a business creationist and mentor in creating momentum. She helps people to become honest with where they are in life so they can use their skills and strengthen their opportunities to get moving down their golden brick road. We look at the obstacles in life and work through them, growing stronger as we do. Ky-Lee has a way about her to get the spark ignited. She is a creative mind focused on developing opportunities for others.
Ky-Lee is the owner of Golden Brick Road Publishing House and GBR Agency. You can reach her through the contact form on this website. She offers consultations, writing and business coaching, publishing and marketing, and welcomes you with open arms into her community. She will connect you with many people you need on this journey.

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