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True Colors

Few are brave enough to tackle as big an issue as discrimination--or optimistic enough to expect solutions; however, a recent report released by the Simmons College Multicultural Women Business Owners Project ventures to do just that. This giant step for womankind takes on the goal of solving the "whitewash dilemma," or "the dominant white anglo male perspective, which assumes all women are alike," says Lynda Moore, co-director of the project with Bonita Betters-Reed.

"The whitewash dilemma is that most of the advancement for women has been for white women and not for women of color," says Betters-Reed. "We must look at gender through a multicultural lens, which includes class and socioeconomic as well as racial and ethnic issues."

The report is the result of a conference held last May at Simmons College in Boston, in which women leaders, from U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman to Maxwell House president Anne Fudge, discussed ways of enacting change. "The report reflects the way research is done on women's business ownership, the way education and training is conceptualized and delivered, and the way policies are framed," says Moore.

Next on the agenda is a compilation of training and educational materials; more in-depth research on women business owners; and proclamation of the message to a broad-based audience.

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This article was originally published in the September 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: True Colors.

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