Gender, risk and finance: why can't a woman be more like a man?

  • Marlow S
  • Swail J
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Whilst acknowledging that the influence of gender upon women’s business ownership is now included as a legitimate addition to the contemporary entrepreneurship research agenda, we question the assumptions which frame this inclusion. We argue that whilst the masculinity of the entrepreneurial discourse has been recognized, this has promoted an almost exclusive focus upon women as the cipher for and personification of the gendered subject. Using explorations of risk and business finance in the context of entrepreneurship, we demonstrate how this presumption ascribes women a discrete but generic theoretical and empirical status associated with weakness and lack. Drawing upon a feminist stance, we suggest that the framing of this contemporary critique, rather than addressing the gender blindness endemic within entrepreneurship, actually generates ontological biases and associated epistemological limitations which perpetuate female disadvantage. These, in turn, constrain the theoretical and empirical reach of the broader field of entrepreneurship research.

Author-supplied keywords

  • entrepreneurship
  • finance
  • gender
  • risk

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  • Susan Marlow

  • Janine Swail

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