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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 20: The Way Forward for Women Business Owners

Sandra L. Fielden and Marilyn J. Davidson


Sandra L. Fielden and Marilyn J. Davidson Introduction As is evidenced by the material presented in the chapters throughout this book, women owned businesses are a growing international trend and the numbers have increased in almost every country in the last 10 years, accounting for between one quarter and one third of the total business population across the world (OECD, 2000). However, what is also plainly evident, is that official statistics may well underestimate the true picture due to the definitions of small-business ownership used, which frequently serve to distort the statistical information available. For example, a European survey revealed that the number of women working independently or as small-business owners was in excess of 10 million more than the official Eurostat figures (Allen, 1999). One reason for this may be that many small businesses owned by women are home-based and are not publicly recognized as independent enterprises (Bruni et al., 2004). Another trend revealed in the preceding chapters is that, while the majority of womenowned firms are small, services and retail still make up the largest share of women-owned businesses, women entrepreneurs are diversifying into different types of businesses and industry sectors (NFBWO, 2003). This diversification has been slow because of the general position of women in the workplace, with women being concentrated in low-paid, low status and low-skilled work (Shaw et al., 2001). Although women still run predominantly small service-based companies, there is a significant growth in knowledge-based businesses owned by women...

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