Feminist Insight on Gendered Work: New Directions in Research on Women and Entrepreneurship



This paper discusses research on female entrepreneurs in conjunction with feminist theory on gendered work. I explore the ways in which much of the research on women's experiences of entrepreneurship focuses on identifying similarities and differences between female and male business owners, and on providing explanations for the differences identified. While such an approach is useful in compensating for the exclusion of women in earlier studies of business ownership, it does not illuminate how and why entrepreneurship came to be defined and understood vis-à-vis the behaviour of only men. I argue that existing knowledge on women business owners could be enhanced through reflection on two issues — first, on the essentialism in the very construction of the category of ‘the female entrepreneur’ (which prioritizes sex over other dimensions of stratification) and second, on the ways in which the connections between gender, occupation and organizational structure differently affect female and male business owners.