Women Entrepreneurs and the Myth of ‘Underperformance’
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Women Entrepreneurs and the Myth of ‘Underperformance’

A New Look at Women’s Entrepreneurship Research

Edited by Shumaila Yousafzai, Alain Fayolle, Adam Lindgreen, Colette Henry, Saadat Saeed and Shandana Sheikh

Taking a fresh look at how performance is defined by examining the institutional power structures and policies, eminent scholars herein explore ways to overcome constrained performance and encourage women’s entrepreneurial activities through a variety of methodological approaches and geographical contexts.
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Chapter 6: Women entrepreneurs in South Africa: maintaining a balance between culture, personal life, and businessBridget Irene

Bridget Irene


Bridget Irene’s chapter analyses the work–life balance issues that impact the success of women entrepreneurs in South Africa. Addressing the need to identify the factors that affect success in SMEs owned and managed by women, Irene presents an overview of the perceived impact of work–life balance and the perception of success amongst women entrepreneurs. Maintaining a balance between business and family life has gained attention in the mainstream research on women’s entrepreneurship. Irene’s findings suggest that most South African women entrepreneurs are concerned with achieving a better work–life balance and do not seek financial success at the expense of their family lives, whether their own or those of their employees. Therefore, it is necessary to reconsider women’s entrepreneurship as an avenue for social and cultural change, not just a route to financial emancipation. While, in contrast to the constraints of a traditional job, entrepreneurship offers a woman the flexibility to manage her multiple obligations, some women see their success as being hindered by their first priority (given the societal views and obligations), which is always family, not their businesses. Female entrepreneurs also consider their personal competency vital to their success, and feel the need for self-development in order to succeed in a society that still undermines and doubts the abilities of women to manage a business.

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