Facebook to publish book featuring advice from pioneering Jewish businesswomen

'Make it Work' was launched today by the social media giant's vice-president for Europe, Nicola Mendelsohn


Facebook has published a book of lessons from leading British businesswoman to mark International Women’s Day (March 8), the American social media giant announced on Thursday.

Make it Work: Lessons from Life in Business brings together 14 leading businesswoman, each of whom has written a chapter outlining their stories and offering advice, with a view to “addressing the lack of visible female role models in the business sector”.

There are a number of female Jewish business pioneers among the contributors.

Dame Stephanie Shirley, the German-born Jewish founder of multi-million pound IT firm Xansa, who arrived in Britain in 1939 as a kindertransport child refugee, authored a chapter entitled, "Why you should challenge the conventions of the day".

Dame Shirley, who adopted the name Steve in the early days of her career because she found that letters bearing a female name often went unanswered, has been a trailblazer in the campaign against sexism in the workplace since she founded Xansa, then called Freelance Programmers, in 1962. Her firm initially sought to employ mostly women and hired 298 female programmers out of the first 300.  

Interior designer Kelly Elaine Hoppen, who was imprisoned in South Africa for violating apartheid laws and was born in South Africa, has also contributed.

The book is the latest step in Facebook’s #SheMeansBusiness campaign that was launched in May 2016 and seeks to facilitate networking among businesswomen.

Facebook claims that it has helped over 30,000 women in the UK alone.

The book will be released free of charge on the #SheMeansBusiness website and will be donated to secondary schools across the UK.

Nicola Mendelsohn, who holds Facebook’s most powerful position outside of North America as the firm’s Vice-President for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said: “All around us, amazing women are building businesses and dreaming up the next big thing. They are also securing bigger and better positions in companies large and small. Yet, according to the government’s Rose Review 2019, only a third of entrepreneurs are women! More needs to be done to tackle the gender entrepreneurship gap.

“When we started #SheMeansBusiness in 2016, it was because we recognised that there wasn’t a level playing field for male and female entrepreneurs,” the Manchester-born Jewish Vice-President continued.

“We hope this book encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams, and that they can benefit from a community of women coming together to share their advice for future success.”


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