Business

A new survey of working mothers conducted by The Ladder found, among other things, that 87 percent of respondents believe that balancing a career and a family is a huge struggle, while 55 percent find that trying to excel in both area is "overwhelming." The Ladder has released an infographic to highlight the survey findings, featuring questions like "How does having a child impact the way you feel regarded by your coworkers?" View the infographic after the jump.

"Digging through the demographic data in the latest job numbers, one of the clear winners of the last few months has been black women," reports Businessweek. "Since December, they’ve knocked more than 3 percentage points off their unemployment rate, from 13.9 percent to 10.8 percent. That’s the biggest drop over the last five months for any single demographic group broken out by race, sex, and age by the Bureau of Labor Statistics."

A new infographic from the UNC school of business offers "sound bites and statistics from women who lead," among them Arriana Huffington, Sheryl Sandberg, and Rachel Sklar. Although women make up nearly half of the workforce and are starting businesses at 1.5x the national average, they are notably absent from the majority of corporate boards and executive offices, especially in the technology sector. Check out the entire infographic after the jump.

Models have rights too, no? You might not think so to look at the way many women and men are mistreated in the industry. To combat those issues, nonprofit group the Model Alliance has drafted a bill of rights for models. According to the document, which is still in draft form, models should have the right to a professional relationship with their agent/agency, transparent accounting processes, control over their careers, and negotiable commissions, with special notes for models under 18. Watch a video from the Alliance after the jump.

"Quincy Apparel, a New York start-up founded by two Harvard Business School grads, is attempting to change the way women shop for clothes — by asking for their bra size," All Thing D's Tricia Duryee reports. "The idea for creating a new line of clothing, based on bra size and sold over the Internet, came after Wallace and her co-founder Alex Nelson graduated and were shopping for business suits. 'We were both misfits, but the more we talked to friends, we found that everyone considered themselves to be a misfit,' she said. 'If no one can wear these clothes, our bodies aren’t the problem.'"
"It didn't take long for Lululemon Athletica to grow into a $10 billion yoga apparel empire," Business Insider reports. "Why has Lululemon been so successful? Put simply, it found a savvy way to exploit women's deepest insecurities. A New York City yoga instructor recently confirmed this. 'Women want to look good for other women before they want to look good for men," she told us. "Lululemon was the first place that provided workout clothes that women weren't embarrassed to be seen in, they could even grab dinner after yoga if they wanted to.''"
"Most people who want to change the world and make a profit don’t have the money to buy into the growing number of investment funds that focus on social impact. But what if you only need $20 to get involved?," reads a post on the Women 2.0 blog. "That’s the idea behind WIN-WIN, the Women Investing In Women Initiative, which was created by the Calvert Foundation to fund businesses that improve women's lives by targeting women investors." In a few weeks, WIN-WIN has raised more than $300,000 from 64 investors.
"Women opened new businesses and grew their own enterprises faster than any other type of business with the exception of the largest U.S. corporations over the past year." Portfolio.com's Teresa Novellino reports. "Female owners opened nearly 550 enterprises in the United States per day over the last year, as the number of women-owned firms rose by 200,000, according to the second annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, commissioned by American Express OPEN."
Polish booze company Belvedere Vodka has stirred controversy for releasing an advertisement that appears to depict a rape-like situation. Following a huge outcry on Twitter, the company pulled the ad, but screenshots of it continue to float around the web. Belvedere executives issued an apology in the wake of the flap, tweeting that "We apologize to any of our fans who were offended by our recent tweet. We continue to be an advocate of safe and responsible drinking." However, many feminists, anti-rape advocates, and others consider the apology too little too late.
Realizing that she had "a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear," 20-year-old Nikki Durkin founded 99dresses, a clothing swap website serving fast-fashion shoppers in her native Australia. "To participate on 99dresses, users upload a dress that they may be tired of, but that somebody else might appreciate," TechCrunch's Alexis Tsotsis reports. Users rack up virtual buttons that they can use to "purchase" other dresses. The service is now available in the U.S. at 99dresses.com.
"For Afghanistan, female entrepreneurs may be critical to drive this peaceful future," writes Susan McPherson at the Harvard Business Review Blog Network. "In a study recently conducted by the Peace Dividend Trust (PDT), which works with Afghan entrepreneurs to match them to local market opportunities, out of the 7,000 Afghan companies in its national database only 242 are owned by women. However, three to five new women-owned ventures join its registry each month."
Eve Hobsbawm's story is one that will make you feel inspired or incredibly lazy. The 8-year-old child from London has started her own business, charging customers to solve all their problems. Hobsbawm describes her business, Problem Solved, as a "problem-solving consultancy" that will solve "Problems about love, life and work-life balance, but not "Schoolwork-related problems (especially not maths)." Hobsbawm accepts problems via email, and pricing ranges from 10 pence for "everyday problems" up to £1.00 for tougher problems.
A group of some 500 former and current female Wal-Mart employees has filed sex discrimination claims against the company, the Los Angeles Times reports. The move follows last June's 5-4 Supreme Court decision against 1.5 million women attempting to bring a class-action lawsuit against Wal-Mart. "In an interview, [attorney Joseph] Sellers said that the 500 or so Wal-Mart workers are from five states -- Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi and North Carolina -- and were required to file by a Jan. 27. deadline in order to pursue their claims. Employees in the other 45 states have until May 25 to file with the EEOC, and thousands are expected to do so in the coming months, Sellers said."

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