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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 13: Women into Enterprise – A European and International Perspective

Mary van der Boon


Mary van der Boon Introduction The aim of this chapter is to review the position of women into enterprise from a global perspective, with particular emphasis on ‘push’–‘pull’ factors of opportunity, motivation, barriers and situational constraints. As illustrated in this Handbook, most of the available data comes from the United States and the United Kingdom, however effort has been made to specifically review other European and international data on women into entrepreneurship. Women and entrepreneurship – an international perspective According to the United Nations the percentage of women economically active varies widely around the world, from a high of 56 to 58 per cent in Eastern and Central Asia and Eastern Europe to a low 21 per cent in Northern Africa. Across the world, women-owned firms typically comprise between one quarter and one third of the business population, although this is growing rapidly (Franks, 2000). Similarly, as outlined in Chapter 11, studies of small and medium-sized businesses in New Zealand reveal a ‘spectacular’ increase in women business owners (McGregor and Tweed, 2001). There is a high presence of self-employed women particularly in North America (Canada, Mexico and the United States), Australia, Japan and in the North European countries, while it is lower in the countries of South Europe, especially Turkey, Greece and Italy. Between 1976 and 1996 there was a significant increase in the percentage of self-employed women in the United States and in Australia, while there was a decrease in Finland and in Italy (EU India...

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