Edited by Sandra L. Fielden and Marilyn J. Davidson
Chapter 5: The Constraints Facing Women Entering Small Business Ownership
Leonie V. Still Introduction As Dorothy Perrin Moore has emphasized in the preceding chapter, the rising numbers of female entrepreneurs and self-employed women in the developed western world clearly suggests that business ownership has emerged as an important alternative for women. Moreover, the patterns women are following in the establishment of their businesses suggest they are pursuing ‘careers without boundaries’ (Moore, 2000, 2002). In country after country, women now account for between 20 and 40 per cent of small business ownership (Ljunggren and Kolvereid, 1996; Borooah et al., 1997; Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2001; Carter and Anderson, 2001; Carter et al., 2001; US-based Center for Women’s Business Research, 2001a). So impressive are the general growth rates, that many governments now view this phenomenon from an economic perspective and in the past decade have initiated and introduced both policies and programmes to better assist women to make the transition to self-employment. Despite the impressive policy and assistance infrastructures that are being built in some countries, however, women still face constraints in both their pursuit of, and operation of, small business. This chapter deals with this issue, as well as presenting some new perspectives on some conventional ideas of women small business operators and their businesses. Overview of current research As evidenced by the material presented in this book, research in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s concluded that women entered self-employment to gain autonomy and independence, to escape the glass ceiling of the corporate world, and to gain more ﬂexibility and...
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