Women Entrepreneurs and the Global Environment for Growth
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Women Entrepreneurs and the Global Environment for Growth

A Research Perspective

Edited by Candida G. Brush, Anne de Bruin, Elizabeth J. Gatewood and Colette Henry

Women’s entrepreneurship research and the understanding of factors influencing the growth of women-owned business have advanced significantly over the last decade. Yet, challenges remain. Women Entrepreneurs and the Global Environment for Growth provides wide-ranging insights on the challenges that women entrepreneurs face growing their businesses and how these may be addressed.
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Chapter 4: Female Leadership and Company Profitability

Annu Kotiranta, Anne Kovalainen and Petri Rouvinen


Annu Kotiranta, Anne Kovalainen and Petri Rouvinen INTRODUCTION There is a great amount of statistical evidence that shows that women are important drivers of growth in many of the world’s economies (Arenius and Kovalainen, 2006; Minniti et al., 2005), especially in small business and new business creation. However, the position of women in top management is less convincing (Carter et al., 2003; Eurostat, 2007; Kotiranta et al., 2007). The percentage of women is lower than men at all levels of managerial hierarchy. This is especially the case in the highest managerial levels in corporations. Even today the number of women in the highest ranks of corporate management and decision-making positions is still less than 10 per cent in most industrialized countries (Eurostat, 2007). Likewise an average of only 10–11 per cent of members of the highest decisionmaking bodies in the top 50 companies in Europe are women (European Commission database on women and men in decision-making), and the development towards gender equality has been slow. In particular the presence and share of women in the top positions of corporate governance has been highlighted as being important not only with respect to corporate values but also due to the importance of the diversity of boards and firm value (Carter et al., 2003). Corporations themselves have started to argue that the board of directors signals good managerial patterns, diversity in values and the dynamics within corporation culture. The argument in much of the literature on corporate governance is that gender diversity...

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