Photo Credit: Ariana Conroy
New paint coats the canvas with every brush stroke. Countless hours of work and dedication are attached to the piece. A deep blue sky blends effortlessly into the lighter tones below. Buildings with countless windows tower over the imaginary metropolis, with millions of stars decorating the untold galaxies above. The dozens of paint-soaked cotton balls, discarded in a pile beside the work, are handled by an artist on a mission: Ariana Conroy.
She is one of many young women looking to enter the business world as an entrepreneur: selling what she creates for a profit and the chance at fortune. With entrepreneurs getting younger and more diverse it is only a matter of time before the next Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk is female.
Cathy Gilligan, the business teacher at Kinnelon High School, said, “Women are making huge strides in the business world [and are becoming] very successful.” Women are equally valuable, and even sought after, in the workforce due to their abilities. This lends itself to their continued success and growth.
Still, only six percent of heterosexual households have a woman working full time with the father not working, but in nearly 50% of households, both parents work. It is increasingly popular for parents to share the load of child responsibility and the current working climate is making that an easier choice for many Americans.
Gilligan went on to state that, “Women today can create, they can be entrepreneurs, they can do something from their home to make an income, and balance […] their family and their careers.” The ever-growing domination of computers in the workplace is allowing many women with child care opportunities while working from home. This will let their professional opportunities grow while also allowing mothers to watch their children grow.
This equality of opportunity has allowed for a growth of equality and the expansion of the entrepreneurial spirit. Aspiring business owner and artist, Conroy knows the challenges that face her future business career saying, “The arts are a very competitive game. But what I want to do with my business is to, of course, paint my own creations, but also to give my clients the option to pick a painting or idea and I’ll paint that for them.”
None of the difficulties surrounding this business opportunity has to do with gender. Conroy said, “Women are more celebrated especially if they have a talent or business that helps or enriches the world.” The setbacks facing women in the past are just not felt by the women of today. They know that if they want to succeed the largest factor is hard work.
Gilligan said, “You have to work hard and you have to have a great personality.” This drives the conversation on business away from gender and towards one’s ability. This is where the business world is now. A field in which gender is inconsequential compared to the drive and ability one brings to the table.
In the past, childbirth and childcare would cause stigma against hiring women. In some ways, that is still prevalent, but the numerous workarounds to these pitfalls are making them more negligible to employers. At this point, business leaders have started looking past gender and looking towards ability.
Conroy said, “I am excited for my future. It’s fun to have something to call my own and to feel independent.” A great work ethic and independence are at the core of the business world. At the center is not the prejudices that once held people back, but the differences in ideas that will propel business forward.
Ariana Conroy can be contacted at 973-487-7415 for anyone interested in art commissions whether it be on canvas, shoes, or anything else.