Despite the positive trend in women’s self-employment during the last two decades, there is still a significant gender gap in entrepreneurship (Arenius/Kovalainen 2006). This “gender gap” has raised a lively political and scientific debate around the world. Despite considerable research on the causes of under-representation of females in entrepreneurship, there is still no consensus on how to create or achieve full gender equity. Women who are highly qualified and educated often refrain from entrepreneurial activities. Even welfare policies such as the Nordic Welfare Model appear insufficient or counter-productive for female entrepreneurship (Neergaard/Thrane 2011). Consequently, research focusing on the entrepreneurial activation of highly educated women remains in deficit.
Opportunity identification and development are key focal points of research in entrepreneurship (Baron 2006; Shane/Venkatamaran 2000). In such research field, further insights concerning female entrepreneurship can be expected. To date, much attention has been paid to the question of why some individuals discover opportunities and decide to exploit them to create future goods and services while others do not. Currently, there is the scope for new insights that analyze gender differences in the development of opportunities, including the human and the social capital as well as cognitive factors possessed by women and men.
Studies that emphasize the socialization of women, as well as their education and experience, promise to be another helpful step to enhance our understanding of the scarcity of entrepreneurship in the careers of well-educated females. We also wish to explore how gendered entrepreneurship rates are influenced by the contemporary image of female entrepreneurs in specific country contexts. Future research should also shed light on how gender identities need to be redefined in the future to reduce gendered inequity in entrepreneurship. Leaving the narrow focus of self-employment, the study of females’ entrepreneurial orientation toward becoming entrepreneurs, corporatepreneurs or boundarypreneurs is important for a better and critical appreciation of choices, opportunities, and outcomes for career development (Moore, 2005).
A wider field of study of entrepreneurial women, which embraces choices in employment, self-employment and business, allows us to revisit the field of entrepreneurship and adopt a Schumpeterian perspective on the value of entrepreneurship across different economic and social activities. It also allows us to re-examine the role of women in negotiating, forging, and initiating different entrepreneurial pathways in terms of their place in society and in the wider economy. By encouraging contributions from different contexts around the world we can explore multiple perspectives and modes of opportunity exploitation that are appropriate and relevant to specific contexts. Women’s alertness to opportunities in varied contexts suggests the prospect of a critical review of a Kirznerian perspective. By identifying how choices are made through personal networks, we can follow narratives built round the use of preference theory and socio-psychological insights. It is essentially through a diversity of discourse and analysis that we can obtain a critical understanding of the diverse forms of entrepreneurship in which women are engaged in communities around the world.
Access to education and training can give shape and meaning to such diversity, as opportunities open up for the retrieval and use of different resources. Our particular interest is in investigating the diversity of female entrepreneurship through the lens of graduate female entrepreneurs. As education and human capital development acquires a greater degree of importance in political, economic and social agendas across the world, how an enhancement of human capital for entrepreneurial women can enable value creation in our societies is a key consideration for researchers, policy makers and entrepreneurs.
For this special issue we invite papers that enhance our understanding of the entrepreneurial activity and success of educated women, whether already graduated or aspiring toward such academic achievement. Purely conceptual papers are as welcome as theory-driven empirical work applying qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods.
The following is an indicative, but not exhaustive list of potential topics:
• Gender, University Graduation and Entrepreneurial Activity
• Entrepreneurial Opportunity Development from a Gendered Perspective
• Female Entrepreneurs’ Socialization, (Entrepreneurial) Education and Career Aspirations
• Gendered Aspects of Public (Welfare) Policies
• Diversity and Heterogeneity Among Women Entrepreneurs
• Gender Perspectives on Entrepreneurial Orientation
• Commercialization of University Science from a Gendered Perspective
• Personal Networks and Choices of Graduate Female Entrepreneurs
While this is an open call for papers, we also intend selecting the best papers from the 3rd GMLG Conference on Entrepreneurship, January 17th to 19th, 2013, Lueneburg, Germany, as one source of articles for this special issue.
Abstracts of up to 500 words by October 1, 2012, should be e-mailed directly to the guest editors (details below). Thereafter, selected authors will be directed to the journal’s on line submission system, ScholarOne, to submit their full papers. Full papers of not more than 8,000 words are due by 31 March, 2013
Entrepreneurship & Start-up Management
Leuphana University of Lueneburg
21335 Lueneburg, Germany
Professor Jay Mitra
Director, Centre for Entrepreneurship Research
Essex Business School
University of Essex
Elmer Approach, Southend-on-Sea
Essex SS1 1LW, United Kingdom