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Exploring the dynamics of gender, feminism and entrepreneurship: advancing debate to escape a dead end?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2012
<mark>Journal</mark>Organization
Issue number5
Volume19
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)543-562
Publication statusPublished
Early online date2/10/12
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Contrary to the neo-liberal thesis that entrepreneuring is an open and accessible endeavour where personal effort alone determines reward and status, it has been demonstrated that there is a persistent, but occluded, gender bias within the entrepreneurial discourse. Accordingly, women are positioned as lacking and incomplete men; however, despite calls to employ feminist theory as an analytical frame to demonstrate the reproduction of such subordination, there is scant evidence this has emerged. Within this article, we respond to this call by demonstrating how post structural feminist analysis reveals the gendered assumptions informing entrepreneurship theory that embed prevailing hetero-normative assumptions. These assumptions limit the epistemological scope of contemporary research which positions women as failed or reluctant entrepreneurial subjects; as such, in the absence of feminist theorizing these analyses remain descriptive rather than explanatory. Accordingly, the current entrepreneurial research agenda is in danger of reaching an epistemological dead end in the absence of a reflexive critical perspective to inform the idea of who can be and what might be an entrepreneur. Finally, we draw upon these arguments to reflect upon current approaches to theorizing within the broader field of entrepreneurial enquiry.