ENTERPRISING WOMEN: GENDER AND MATURITY IN NEW VENTURE CREATION AND DEVELOPMENT
ALISTAIR R. ANDERSON
This study examines the role that gender played in the entrepreneurial actions of mature women in the process of starting and developing their businesses. The literature indicates that the characteristics of entrepreneuse and their businesses can be usefully categorised in terms of push and pull factors. Motivational pull factors are seen as broadly universal, fitting both men and women, but push factors, such as flexibility to accommodate domestic roles are presented as more important for women, Consequently our study examines mature entrepreneuse, who might be expected to have reduced domestic responsibilities. A sample of ten mature female entrepreneurs was selected because the literature indicated that there were specific "windows of entrepreneurial opportunity" in women's life stages. Such a window of opportunity could be expected to open when the demands of childrearing reduce as children become older. The respondents were interviewed in depth to explore the ramifications of gender in the motivation, expectations, purpose, action and outcomes of their business activities. We found that gender, in particular gender expectations, continued to play a significant configuring role in the way that these respondents operated their businesses.
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