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Female Enterprise in the New Economy

Female Enterprise in the New Economy

Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 200
  • Book Info
    Female Enterprise in the New Economy
    Book Description:

    The rise of women's self-employment and small business ownership has received a great deal of attention in North America and industrialized countries around the world. InFemale Enterprise in the New Economy, Karen D. Hughes examines whether an increasingly entrepreneurial economy offers women better opportunities for economic success, or instead increases their risk of poverty and economic insecurity.

    Drawing on original data from interviews, statistical research, and other sources, Hughes explores the reasons why women are starting businesses in record numbers. She looks at the type of work that entrepreneurial women are pursuing, the satisfaction they derive from their work, and the economic risks and rewards they face. Placing this study in the context of broader debates on economic restructuring, the emergence of a 'risk society,' and growing economic polarization, Hughes illustrates the diversity within women's self-employment and small business ownership, and the need for policies to better address the particular needs of this sector of the workforce.

    Tackling a range of issues and theoretical assumptions,Female Enterprise in the New Economywill be of interest to a wide audience in sociology, organizational studies, entrepreneurship studies, public policy, political economy, and women's studies.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7484-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-23)

    At first glance it is hard to see what connects these individuals, to see what sets them out as markers of the ‘new’ economy. They are diverse workers in diverse worksites – residential, commercial, suburban, inner city. Some are ‘business moms,’ juggling the demands of family and business from cramped offices or kitchen tables of busy suburban homes. Others are ‘one woman shows,’ running bustling cafés and restaurants around the city. Growing numbers are ‘bosses,’ working in manufacturing plants or the gleaming towers of the downtown core. Others fill tiny strip-mall shops that dot the city’s landscape, jostling for customers alongside...

  6. 2 Researching Women in the Entrepreneurial Economy
    (pp. 24-40)

    Writing about the practice of social research, Sandra Harding (1987) observes that the questions we ask are as determinant of the knowledge we produce as the actual answers we uncover. So, too, are the decisions we make in the process of doing social research – from deciding how to gather information to choosing participants to determining how data are to be analysed and presented. For this reason, Harding argues, it is crucial that the research process be placed ‘on the same critical plane’ as the subject itself, so that the researcher’s assumptions, decisions, and tools can be held up to scrutiny....

  7. 3 Women’s Paths into Self-Employment and Small Business
    (pp. 41-74)

    Asked why they became self-employed, Susan and Nadia tell two very different stories. For Susan, the founder of a small, quickly growing, manufacturing business, the decision to become self-employed was a natural, something she had always wanted to do. An entrepreneurial father, a first marriage to a small business owner, instilled a desire to ‘make things happen,’ to set out on her own. When her marriage ended, taking with it a successful family business, she took a paid job for a time and then made the plunge on her own. ‘It’s an amazing thing’ she says laughing and looking around...

  8. 4 ‘I Love What I Do!’ Job Satisfaction and the Creation of Meaningful Work
    (pp. 75-111)

    If we judge simply by their growing presence and entrance into self-employment and small business, it would seem that women are making important inroads in the entrepreneurial economy. But we also need in-depth measures that will let us assess issues such as job quality and satisfaction. Listening to Jean, above, discuss her five-year-old business leaves no doubt she relishes her work and the challenges it brings. A bright, lively woman in her thirties, Jean juggles her work as business owner, mother, and wife, raising a toddler with her husband, while overseeing an educational services business that employs four other people....

  9. 5 Players or Paupers? Income, Job Security, and the Negotiation of Risk
    (pp. 112-146)

    Clearly the majority of women involved in self-employment and small business ownership are highly satisfied with their work. They enjoy the variety of activities and challenges they face each day, the freedom and flexibility they have, and the opportunity to do meaningful work. But how are they faring economically? Do they earn good incomes? Do they make a reasonable return on the long hours they work? Are they able to save for retirement? Do they feel secure in the work they are doing?

    Exploring this reveals a range of experience, with some women struggling while others prosper. At one end...

  10. 6 Building an Entrepreneurial Economy
    (pp. 147-187)

    Discussing her plans for the future, Lisa is the classic example of a growth-oriented entrepreneur. In just six years she has built a highly successful business, earns a generous salary, and sees nothing but unlimited opportunities ahead to ‘increase sales, increase revenues and grow stronger.’ In marked contrast, Joan, who runs a thriving consultancy, has virtually no interest in seeing her business grow. Having worked for several larger organizations earlier in her career, she loves being a free agent, talking at length about the freedom and independence she enjoys. Business is booming, opportunities abound, but she’s just not interested in...

  11. 7 Conclusions
    (pp. 188-194)

    Just a few short decades ago less than one million Canadians were self-employed. Today the number hovers around 2.4 million and is expected to grow. Canadian women have been at the centre of this change, entering self-employment and small business ownership in dramatic numbers, and in ways that depart notably from traditional patterns. Once relegated to small unincorporated home-based businesses in traditional sectors such as retail and personal services, they have now considerably diversified their activity, working in a wide range of industries, traditional and non-traditional, as bosses, business moms, and one-woman shows.

    Understanding this social and economic phenomenon, and...

  12. Appendix 1: Interview Schedule
    (pp. 195-198)
  13. Appendix 2: Summary Sheet
    (pp. 199-202)
  14. Appendix 3: Interview Participants and Individuals/Organizations Assisting with Recruitment
    (pp. 203-204)
  15. Notes
    (pp. 205-210)
  16. References
    (pp. 211-234)
  17. Index
    (pp. 235-252)