Women Entrepreneurs Across Racial Lines

Women Entrepreneurs Across Racial Lines

Issues of Human Capital, Financial Capital and Network Structures

New Horizons in Entrepreneurship series

Andrea E. Smith-Hunter

Women entrepreneurs command an increasingly large presence at the international and national levels. A significant part of this impact is due to growing numbers of minority women becoming entrepreneurs. This volume provides some of the most comprehensive data to date on the topic of women entrepreneurs across racial lines. It offers a systematic and conceptual framework for understanding issues of network structures and human and financial capital, analyzed through a comparative analysis of minority and white women entrepreneurs.

Chapter 1: The Rise of Women Entrepreneurs

Andrea E. Smith-Hunter

Subjects: business and management, diversity and management, entrepreneurship, gender and management

Extract

Introduction The last half-century has witnessed monumental changes for women as income earners (Abelda and Tully, 1997; Bennett, 1917; Berger, 1989; Bielby and Baron, 1986). These changes included the influx of women into the mainstream labor market, the revolution of the Women’s Movement and the Civil Rights Movement, which propelled women into non-traditional roles, and the explosion in the number of women entrepreneurs particularly over the last two decades (Bregger, 1996; Buttner and Moore, 1997). This latter phenomenon has given rise to countless books, articles and reports informing the public on the various aspects of the seemingly never-ending kaleidoscope of women as entrepreneurs. Statistically, there is no doubt that women entrepreneurs are holding a commanding presence on the national and international level (Clark and James, 1992; Fried, 1989; Haynes and Helms, 2000). Figures from the United States indicate that women own 10.6 million firms or 48% of all United States-owned companies (The Center, 2004a). In addition, from 1987 to 1999, the number of women-owned businesses in the United States increased by 103%; employment of workers by female-owned companies grew by 436% during the same period (Coughlin and Thomas, 2002). Between 1975 and 2000, the number of women operating their own businesses in the United States more than doubled (Coughlin and Thomas, 2002). During the same period, the female self-employment rate increased by 63% as women started businesses at more than twice the rate than men (National Association of Women Business Owners’ Annual Report, 2000). By 2000, the data showed that...

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