Get access

The Quest for Invisibility: Female Entrepreneurs and the Masculine Norm of Entrepreneurship


*Brunel Business School, Brunel University, Kingston Lane, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH, E-mail:


The emphasis in research on female entrepreneurship remains focused on the impact of gender on women’s experience of business ownership, often demonstrated through comparisons of male and female entrepreneurs. By contrast, this article explores the differences and divisions between women business owners who are silent about gender issues and those who are not. The main data drawn on in the article are e-mails conducted through a web-based entrepreneurial network set up to promote and support women in business, supplemented with interview material derived from an interview study of 19 women business owners. By considering the way in which some women business owners not only treat entrepreneurship as gender-neutral, but also seek to conceal its gendered nature, we can see how some female entrepreneurs are trying to avoid being identified as different from the masculine norm of entrepreneurship.