MISOGYNY and sexism appear in many forms and in many places – in Hollywood, at Westminster, in day-to-day life, and in business. As blatant and unforgiveable as overt harassment, assault or bullying are, it also seeps through in insidious ways.

There is an increasing, infuriating, creeping trend towards describing female entrepreneurs as “mumpreneurs”, or “fempreneurs”, and even “lipstick entrepreneurs” or “She-EOs”. Unconscious bias or deliberate sexism? It doesn’t matter. The fact we don’t have “dadpreneurs” says it all.

“The suggestion seems to be that entrepreneurship is a predominantly male activity and this distances women even further from their legitimate pursuit of running a business,” says PR expert Gaynor Simpson who, in addition to being PR manager for Women’s Enterprise Scotland, runs her own business.

“The flexibility it’s given me over the past 13 years has worked well for us as a family. Never at any point have I felt the need to combine my work title with my life as a mum. It’s not relevant.

“The words seem to have sprung up over the past decade to describe the growing numbers of women who generally work from home around their children. So, they’re business owners with child care commitments. Why take the word entrepreneur, which isn’t gender specific, and try to make it so?”

Simpson says the tide is turning across many fronts with regards to how women are treated in the workplace, but added: “Challenging the use of derogatory, sexist labels is part of the battle to achieve true equality. We need to call people out when they use derogatory or patronising language, to the point that it stops being acceptable.”

The kind of language Simpson refers to underpins the gender gap in business and must be changed if we’re to harness the value of women and encourage many more to join the ranks of the entrepreneur. Only 20 per cent of SMEs in Scotland are majority owned and led by women, yet if women started businesses at the same rate as men, it’s estimated that this would contribute an extra £7.6 billion to the Scottish economy, Simpson says.

She added: “There is also a significant gender pay gap in enterprise, with the OECD reporting that self-employed women earn between 10 per cent and 60 per cent less than self-employed men across all countries (Entrepreneurship at a Glance, OECD (2015)).

“Once we start ditching juvenile labels such as ‘mumpreneur’, we can start making more effective use of the wealth of talent which female business leaders offer.

“When you think it is predicted that by 2025 women-led businesses will generate £9.5bn for the UK and support an extra 13,000 employees (Development Economics), it really is time to drop the patronising labels and celebrate the courage and vision – regardless of gender, parental status or whatever – that’s required by anyone who starts up their own business.”

Michelle Rodger is a communications consultant