Women’s Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century
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Women’s Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century

An International Multi-Level Research Analysis

Edited by Kate Lewis, Colette Henry, Elizabeth J. Gatewood and John Watson

Women’s Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century is the fourth in the series of books emanating from the DIANA International Research Network. The volume takes a multi-dimensional approach to coalesce a series of chapters around the central theme: gender and entrepreneurship today and in the future. The chapters span a diverse range of countries, methodologies, and levels of analysis – however, they all seek to contribute to an advancing understanding of women and their engagement with entrepreneurial endeavours.
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Chapter 14: Self-employment and motherhood: the case of Poland

Ewa Lisowska


With the rise in women’s level of education and their increasing aspirations to achieve economic independence, owning a business is increasingly being perceived in Poland as an alternative to wage employment, attractive for its financial advantages (EC, 2010). It appears that for well-educated women, launching their own company may be easier than trying to break through the glass ceiling on the path to managerial positions (Buttner and Moore, 1997; Lisowska, 2004). This shift follows a similar move in Canada and the United States where women are increasingly resigning from paid employment in big corporations and starting their own businesses (Mattis, 2005). Reasons for this phenomenon include: receiving lower remuneration than their male counterparts, being passed over for promotion, having their needs and expectations ignored by employers, a lack of initiatives around achieving a work–life balance, and personal development (Mattis, 2005; Hewlett and Luce, 2005). In Poland 78 per cent of women managers surveyed in 2010 described their place of work as gender-unequal: women got lower pay than men, women were overlooked for promotions, they needed to be much better than men in order to gain the same level of esteem, and employers did not care about creating a working environment that allowed women to combine work with family life (Bili_ska and Raw_uszko, 2011).

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