A successful woman. Well done?

Alan Sugar recently fired one of his apprentices who suggested that their combined new business be a huge call centre that would make them a lot of money. Talk about living the dream. Someone offers you the opportunity to do something with £250,000 and your idea is to do something that most of society finds loathsome.

It was a woman apprentice and I thought of it when I read in the Guardian about a woman running a betting company that made millions. Betting. Gambling. Putting your money to use by placing on games of fortune. How utterly grotesque.

“In recent years, the number of people experiencing problems with gambling has increased due to economic troubles associated with the global recession and an increase in the number of gambling outlets. It is now easier than ever before to gamble”, says the Gambling Addiction website.

There is no mention of any problem with running an online betting shop in the interview with Simon Bowers. There was an attempt to draw out the fact that the person running Bet365 is a woman with contrasts between the “most masculine of messengers” Wayne Rooney and Ray Winstone on the TV ads and the “passionate businesswoman” Denise Coates.

It’s a tenuous link. Coates is a woman but there’s nothing feminine, motherly or womanly – in contrast to masculine, fatherly and manly, that is – about running a betting shop. It’s capitalism at its very best. There is nothing ethical about this way of making money although the article promotes the many jobs which Bet365’s 1900 staff have thanks to Coates.

Even the support of the local football team which could be considered communal has nothing to do with her. It is her father, the Chairman of Bet365, that is involved with supporting the local team.

So where is the feminist angle? There is none. This representative of capitalism simply happens to have two X chromosomes. She advances no cause. I wonder if Lord Sugar would have hired her as his Apprentice.

I have written before about what it means to be a woman and to run a business when I featured the Homemade Mama. For me, that is what feminism is about. Contributing something to society.

One response to “A successful woman. Well done?”

  1. It’s an interesting question about women and business. My (girl)friend just completed an MBA and they looked into how much less likely women are to start their own business. The idea was that men are much more prone to being risk takers as they are more ‘selfish’. Whereas women will naturally consider more factors (looking after children, family) and are therefore less likely to risks. So I really admire Mums like the Homemade Mama for going against the grain. However Coates is altogether different. It’s like she proves that in order to be super successful in business you need to assume more masculine qualities. Setting feminism back rather than pushing it forward.

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