In the late ‘90s in San Francisco, California, Lindsay Knaak-Stuart began her career in advertising. She was in charge of the largest account at her advertising agency, while a male co-worker, in the exact same job, ran a smaller one.
What she didn’t know, though, was that this male co-worker was making almost double what she was.
Pay discrepancy is just one issue Lindsay and women across the globe have encountered in their careers. Being a woman in business comes with challenges that no one asked for, including and not limited to pregnancy discrimination, sexual harassment, appearance, work-life balance and favoritism.
It’s undoubtedly tough. But at the same time, being a woman in business is something to be proud of. Women have brought diverse perspectives to management, leading and creating some of the most important companies to our culture today. The influence of women is not lost. March 8th is International Women’s Day, which is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women while advocating for accelerating gender equity, according to its website.
We’re always proud to share that Meant is woman founded and owned. While products cater to all genders, its identity is rooted in women. Part of the reason Lindsay Knaak-Stuart founded Meant was to have access to a better work/life balance on her own terms. After working in advertising, she moved to the fashion industry. She got pregnant, and was grateful to take maternity leave — but the 12 weeks were still too short. Being a mom and working a demanding corporate job wasn’t meshing. “I always felt I was apologizing for something,” she says. “I was apologizing at work for leaving at 5 p.m. every day to go home. And I was apologizing at home that I only got to see my children an hour a day. I always felt I was disappointing someone.”
Working on her own company meant that Lindsay could have more flexible hours. She can pick up her kids from school every day and attend their school events. She might not face the same external demands of a corporate job anymore, but being a working mom and running her own business has its own challenges.
Lindsay is thankful for the support and encouragement she’s received from the female entrepreneur community and has made some good friends through her networking. She recently joined the Female Founder Collective, a network of supportive women entrepreneurs and frequently attends heymama events in New York City.
As she grows Meant, Lindsay says her goal is to create a work environment that is flexible and empowering, especially for women and moms. “That's my dream when I grow this company,” she says. “That my employees never feel like they have to apologize for anything.”
And on International Women’s Day, Lindsay will be celebrating the accomplishments of women, not just for herself but for her 6-year-old daughter — to show her that she can grow up and achieve anything she sets her mind to.
Want to learn more? Check out some of Lindsay’s favorite resources for women: