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International Handbook of Women and Small Business Entrepreneurship

Edited by Sandra L. Fielden and Marilyn J. Davidson

The number of women entering small business ownership has increased significantly across the world in recent years. These women make a crucial contribution to the economic growth and development of local, national and global economies. Yet, despite their increasing numbers, they have received comparatively little attention from the academic community. This comprehensive and coherent book redresses the balance and provides an up-to-date, theoretical review of this important area of study. A distinguished group of international contributors presents the latest work from the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada, India and Singapore, which explores practical initiatives and strategies related to the experiences of women entering small business entrepreneurship.
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Chapter 2: Characteristics of Women Small Business Owners

Sherrill R. Taylor and Julia D. Newcomer


Sherrill R. Taylor and Julia D. Newcomer For men, being an entrepreneur is a business strategy. For women, it’s a life strategy. (Noble, 1986) Introduction ‘The genes that create us humans have programmed us for business. Trade, technology and the division of labor, the three foundations of business, all predate agriculture, government, religion, law, symbolic communication, and probably every other organizing social force except the nurturing of progeny, according to William C. Frederick’ (Petzinger, 1999, p. 33). These ‘business genes’ seem to be distributed among women on a global scale. Studies of women small business owners document activities of female entrepreneurs in both economically advanced and developing countries, as well as regions within countries. Studies published between 1998 and 2000 include women business owners in the Philippines (Roffey, 1999), Turkey (Esim, 2000), Australia (Bennett and Dann, 2000; Langan-Fox, 1995; Schaper, 1999), Ghana (Chalfin, 2000), Kenya (Gitobu and Gritzmacher, 1991), Saudi Arabia (Patni, 1998–99), rural Illinois (USA) (Egan, 1997), Ohio (Burdette, 1990), Singapore (Deng et al., 1995; Maysami and Goby, 1999; Teo, 1996), Poland (Zapalska, 1997), Argentina (Center for Women’s Business Research (CWBR, 2000a,b), Mexico (CWBR, 1998a), Ireland (CWBR, 1998b), Russia (Sommer et al., 2000), and Canada (CWBR, 1999a). In the US, an estimated 1.2 million majority-owned, privately held women-owned firms employed 9.2 million people and generated $1.15 trillion in sales in 2002. The Center for Women’s Business Research (formerly National Foundation of Women Business Owners – NFWBO) estimated that between 1997 and 2002 the number of women-owned...

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