Getting In, Getting On, Getting Out
Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Adelina M. Broadbridge and Sandra L. Fielden
Chapter 24: What’s ‘woman’s work’? Work–family interface among women entrepreneurs in Italy
Women’s self-employment has experienced a significant growth in the last few decades (Gohmann, 2012; Koellinger et al., 2013) and the importance of its contribution to national economies has been recognized across the continents (see for example, Bruin et al., 2006; Huarng et al., 2012). This chapter focuses on women’s self-employment in relation to work–family interface within the Italian context. By the end of 2011, 23.5 per cent of Italian enterprises were owned by women, however, while these constitute approximately a quarter of the total number of privately owned businesses, they contribute a third of the small business economy. Furthermore, female entrepreneurship is growing at a higher rate than the general enterprise growth (0.5 per cent versus 0.3 per cent in 2012), and women entrepreneurs correspond to 16.3 per cent of women employed in the country (Osservatorio sull’imprenditoria femminile, 2013). While women entrepreneurs have been recognized as a ‘major force for innovation and job creation’ (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in Orhan and Scott, 2001, p. 232), research has highlighted that the experiences and difficulties encountered by women when starting and operating a business are considerably different than those confronted by men (Neider, 1987; Kappler and Parker, 2011).
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