Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research
Edited by Luca Iandoli, Hans Landström and Mario Raffa
Chapter 10: The Role of Gender for Entrepreneurship in a Transition Context
Friederike Welter, David Smallbone, Nina Isakova and Elena Aculai INTRODUCTION Female entrepreneurship and gender diﬀerences in small business development continue to be at the forefront of research in many countries. Most research so far has been conducted in the context of mature market economies and it is focused on identifying female entrepreneurs’ characteristics and gender diﬀerences in areas such as sector and business features, motivation, education and previous experience, psychological characteristics, ﬁnance, barriers to development and growth, and networking (for example, Scott, 1986; Cromie, 1987; Aldrich, 1989; Fay and Williams, 1993; Catley and Hamilton, 1998). Based on a literature review of some 400 academic articles on female entrepreneurs, Carter et al. (2001) have revealed that literature on the topic is developing in the direction of investigating more speciﬁcally gender diﬀerences in business management, ﬁnance, business networks and performance, but they conclude that cumulative knowledge and explanatory theories are still lacking. What role does gender play in relation to entrepreneurship in a transition context? In transition environments, the contribution of women in business extends from the economic sphere to include the wider process of social transformation. The wide political, economic and social reforms in former socialist countries deprived many women of the paid jobs and social security provided by government, thereby forcing them to ﬁnd alternative ways of generating income. Starting a business was one of the options facing entrepreneurial women, shaped by a combination of push and pull factors. Previous research on female entrepreneurs in transition...