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DOUG JOHNSON: Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.
I’m Doug Johnson. This week on our program, we have music from the new album by Sade. And we read some of your comments. But first, we have a report on the business of entrepreneurial mothers.
DOUG JOHNSON: Parents, especially mothers, often face a difficult question when raising families. To work or not to work? The Great Recession gave some mothers no choice but to work, as job cuts hit hard at men. But, as Faith Lapidus reports, the Census Bureau says more than one million women in America were stay-at-home mothers last year.
FAITH LAPIDUS: About half of stay-at-home moms have children under the age of five.
An estimated one hundred fifty-eight thousand men were stay-at-home dads last year. These are married fathers who stay out of the labor force for at least one year, mainly so they can care for their family while their wives go to work.
But more and more mothers are finding creative ways to earn money working at home.
Ellen Parlapiano and Patricia Cobe started using the term "mompreneurs" in the late nineteen nineties. They established mompreneursonline.com and are the authors of two books about them. A mompreneur is an entrepreneur who runs her business from home while also caring for her family.
No one knows exactly how many mompreneurs there are. But the latest Census Bureau report says the number of home-based businesses rose to more than eleven million in two thousand five. That was an increase of nearly two million from nineteen ninety-nine. Half of the home-based workers were female.
Some mompreneurs work full time building their businesses. But most like to work part time so they have more time to spend with their children.
There are no rules for becoming a mompreneur. There are day care providers, accountants, clothing designers and Internet business owners. They earn anywhere from a few hundred dollars a month to several million dollars a year.
This year's winner of the Mompreneur of the Year Award from mompreneursonline.com is Karen Nowicki. The mother of three is also an author, life coach and creator of motherdaughterweekends.com. Her company holds special events to help mothers strengthen their relationships with their daughters.
The United States has a fourteen trillion dollar economy. A report from last year said women business owners are responsible for three trillion dollars a year in economic activity. The report was from the Center for Women’s Business Research and the National Women’s Business Council.
DOUG JOHNSON: A lot of you commented on our recent story about Wilma Mankiller, who died this month at the age of sixty-four. She was the first woman chief of the Cherokee Nation, one of the largest American Indian tribes.
From Japan, Moeko Toyoda wrote on our Web site: I was surprised how dramatic her life was, particularly her physical condition. Serious injury, seventeen operations, myasthenia gravis , cancer and lymphoma. Under this situation, she led the Cherokee. It's unbelievable! Through reading this story, I feel that we should live strong no matter how much pain we are in.
Sade Returns to Battle of the Heart in 'Soldier of Love'
Also from Japan, Mai Susuki noted that Wilma Mankiller's actions helped change what people thought of the roles for women in her society. Mai says she wants to be such a woman. Other people wrote to say that Wilma Mankiller’s story made them feel brave and hopeful.
Our report earlier this month about the design of the American flag helped Anhthu Nguyen in Vietnam settle an argument:
Now I know the meaning of the stars on the American flag and there are fifty stars. Today I disputed with my English teacher about how many stars were on the American flag. It is so exciting to have the answer now.
Jing in Canada commented on our recent story about the Environmental Film Festival here in Washington.
It is good to know the Environmental Film Festival has been set up for 18 years. Hopefully it is not too late for us to wake up to make our earth more healthy and beautiful.
We welcome your comments, questions and suggestions. You can write to us on our Web site, voaspecialenglish.com -- where you can also find transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our shows. Another way to write us is on Facebook. Go to the VOA Learning English page, where you can also get program feeds and meet other English learners. And you can follow us on Twitter at VOA Learning English.
DOUG JOHNSON: It's been twenty-six years since the first album from Sade and ten years since the last. But now the band has a new album, as we hear from Mario Ritter.
MARIO RITTER: "Soldier of Love" is the title song from Sade's latest album. This is their sixth studio album, but only the second to open at number one on the Billboard Albums Chart in the United States. "Soldier of Love" has also reached number one elsewhere including Canada, Dubai, France, Italy, Japan and Switzerland.
"The Safest Place" is another song from the new Sade album.
Sade Adu is the lead singer and the force behind the band. She was born to a Nigerian father and an English mother. Her voice and singing style are still easy to recognize, just like the sadness and longing in her love songs.
In the early days, she was with the group Pride. Record companies wanted her as a solo artist. But she demanded to bring along three other members. They have performed together as Sade ever since. Stuart Matthewman plays guitar and saxophone, Andrew Hale plays keyboards and Paul Denman plays bass.
Sade Adu says making an album is kind of like a military mission. There are strategies and rules and certain limitations. We leave you now with another song from Sade's new album, "Soldier of Love." Here is "Bring Me Home."
DOUG JOHNSON: I'm Doug Johnson. Our program was written by June Simms and Caty Weaver, who was also our producer. Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.