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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 11: Ethnicity and Gender in Women’s Businesses in New Zealand

Judith K. Pringle and Rachel Wolfgramm


Judith K. Pringle and Rachel Wolfgramm Introduction Businesses in western societies, whether small or large, are created, developed and operated on economic imperatives. Such imperatives are ostensibly based on rational objectives that are measurable, usually in financial terms. Although considerations of ‘life style’ may be one of the reasons for establishing a small business, a primary goal is to make profit sufficient for the owners (and usually their dependents) to live on. Entrepreneurship is not usually explicit in the start-up of small businesses, for that implies an expansionist goal. As will be clear from the contents of this Handbook, most of the gender research on small business owners has been carried out on the dominant societal group in industrialized countries, those of European descent. This literature usually compares characteristics and business behaviour of women with men. Implicitly men are the benchmark (Hisrich and Brush, 1984), although not without challenge (Baines and Wheelock, 2000). Studies undifferentiated by ethnicity, have focused on white women almost by default. The descriptions of styles of business have emphasized socialized characteristics of (white) femininity such as caring, empathy, and intuition with an emphasis on relationships (Still, 1990; Brush, 1992; Pringle and Collins, 1998). After an extensive review of US women business owners, Brush (1992, p. 17) argued for an ‘integrated perspective’ as a better representation of women’s modus operandi, namely, ‘Many women business owners conceive of their business as a co-operative network of relationships rather than primarily as a profit-making entity’. There...

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