The invisible (woman) entrepreneur? Shifting the discourse from fisheries diversification to entrepreneurship

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Abstract

In response to ongoing economic downturns in the small-scale fishing sector, there have been calls for fishing businesses to add value to fishing catches. Whilst such activities would have gendered implications, such proposals often do not consider the gendered contexts in which entrepreneurship is placed, nor how this form of entrepreneurship works for the women involved. The article draws on in-depth narrative interviews with women in fishing families in England and Wales who have started, initiated or explored entrepreneurial opportunities to examine (i) whether entrepreneurship enables a (re)negotiation of gender relations within families and (ii) how entrepreneurship develops over the lifecourse. The research is conceptually framed through the literature on women's ‘entrepreneurship’, family embedded perspectives of entrepreneurship, ‘Mumpreneurship’ combined with a lifecourse approach. I found that although women's traditional invisibility often became reproduced through their entrepreneurship in fishing family contexts, women's fisheries entrepreneurship challenged traditional gender relations. In becoming entrepreneurs women negotiated their entrepreneurship with other gendered roles, such as motherhood, over the lifecourse. I argue that shifting the discourse from fisheries diversification to entrepreneurship make it possible to take women seriously by fully viewing them as fisheries workers in their own right in both research and policy.

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Gustavsson, M. (2021). The invisible (woman) entrepreneur? Shifting the discourse from fisheries diversification to entrepreneurship. Sociologia Ruralis, 61(4), 743–758. https://doi.org/10.1111/soru.12343

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