GWO2016 Call for Abstracts – Feminist Perspectives on Entrepreneurship

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Gender, Work and Organisation
9th Biennial International Interdisciplinary conference

29th June-1st July, 2016
Keele University, UK

Entrepreneurship and feminist-theoretical perspectives

Stream Convenors:

  • Helene Ahl, Education & Communication, Jönköping University, SWEDEN
  • Karin Berglund, Business School, Stockholm University, SWEDEN
  • Susan Marlow, Business School, Nottingham University, ENGLAND
  • Katarina Pettersson, Social & Ec. Geography, University of Agricultural Sciences, SWEDEN
  • Malin Tillmar, Management and Engineering, Linköping University, SWEDEN

This stream calls for papers that respond to calls for research on entrepreneurship incorporating critical and feminist-theoretical perspectives affording attention to how entrepreneurship is shaped by a variety contexts. Research on women’s entrepreneurship now constitutes a mature field of study. A recent systematic literature review has identified over 600 academic articles on gender and women’s entrepreneurship (Jennings and Brush 2013). Critical analysts have found the field to be characterized by an Anglo-Saxon dominance, with a concentration on issues of ‘performance’ and ‘growth’ (Al Dajani and Marlow, 2010; Marlow, 2014). There is also a tendency to consider ‘gender’ as a variable (i.e. equivalent to sex) with explanatory power (Ahl 2006; Neergaard et al. 2011), instead of considering ‘gender’ as the relational and socially-constructed concept as originally defined (Ahl 2007). Most studies of women’s entrepreneurship are set in a male–female comparative frame, and explanations are sought for women’s “underperformance” (Marlow and McAdam 2012). However, this under-performance disappears when one controls for sector; men and women in businesses that are comparable in terms of business sector perform equally well (Robb and Watson 2012; Watson 2002). This particular area of research has been criticized for (i) inadvertently subordinating women through a normative assumption of entrepreneurship as being ‘male’, (ii) its individualist focus, (iii) its lack of attention to context and structure (Ahl 2006; Mirchandani 1999; Al Dajani and Marlow, 2010), and, not least, (iv) its neglect of how entrepreneurship is embedded in family (Jennings et al. 2013). Consequently, calls have been made for the study of women’s entrepreneurship in context (de Bruin et al. 2007; Brush et al. 2009; Welter 2011), as well as for the incorporation of critical, feminist-theoretical perspectives (Ahl and Marlow 2012; Bruni et al. 2004; Calás et al. 2009).

Entrepreneurship research often assumes gender equality to be merely an increase in economic participation or economic parity with men through business ownership (Gatewood et al. 2014). Feminist critiques suggest that entrepreneurship risks shaping women into exemplary neoliberal citizens who may no longer recognize, or even appreciate, structural remedies put in place by earlier, collective and political feminist activism (such as quotas, individual taxation or mandatory paternal leave). But it has also been suggested that entrepreneurship may be used as a vehicle for feminist action, where feminist resistance is put into practice through business. This is, in our view, a phenomenon in search of a name. We have coined the term FemInc.ism to denote this phenomenon (Ahl et al., 2014). It can be seen as a special case of the reformulation of entrepreneurship as social change, thereby capturing the many entrepreneurial endeavors that are not businesses, or not just businesses (Steyaert and Hjorth 2006; Calás et al. 2009). A related concept is entrepreneurship as politicizing (Al-Dajani and Marlow 2014). We define FemInc.ism as ‘feminist activism through enterprise’. Through this term we acknowledge the changing conditions for feminist action, in tandem with neoliberal expectations to mobilize oneself through enterprise, but also how this transformation may enable institutional change in private, public, or non-profit sectors through enterprise that is individually or collectively made. So, FemInc.ism gives a name to how institutional change can be created through business. It points to the potential for women and men to use entrepreneurship to achieve feminist change, but the term also points to the risks of being trapped in a situation of feminist backlash that may arise because of structural dissolution. We formulate a number of challenges that researching FemInc.ism is faced with. We claim that research must acknowledge (i) the importance of addressing context, including the time dimension; (ii) the importance of avoiding an a priori position regarding entrepreneurship; (iii) the importance of being open to ambiguities in the interpretation of research results; and finally, (iv) the need to develop feminist theory as well as entrepreneurship theory to adequately describe and understand this phenomenon. Suggested themes that may be addressed are:

• Studies of gendered contextual opportunities or limitations for entrepreneurship

• Developments of feminist theory and entrepreneurship theory

• Studies of entrepreneurship used as a vehicle for feminist action (FemInc.ism)

• Studies of institutional change created through business (FemInc.ism)

• Studies of how feminist action through business (Feminc.ism) affects/transforms femininities and masculinities (and vice versa)

• Discussions of what kind of enterprising selves are shaped through feminist action through business (Feminc.ism)

Abstracts of approximately 500 words (ONE page, Word document NOT PDF, single spaced, excluding references, no header, footers or track changes) are invited by 1st November 2015 with decisions on acceptance to be made by stream leaders within one month. All abstracts will be peer reviewed. New and young scholars with ‘work in progress’ papers are welcomed. In the case of co-authored papers, ONE person should be identified as the corresponding author. Note that due to restrictions of space, multiple submissions by the same author will not be timetabled. In the first instance, abstracts should be emailed to: Karin Berglund. Abstracts should include FULL contact details, including your name, department, institutional affiliation, mailing address, and e-mail address. State the title of the stream to which you are submitting your abstract. *Note that no funding, fee waiver, travel or other bursaries are offered for attendance at GWO2016*.

Festival of Female Entrepreneurs

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A one-day entrepreneurial extravaganza!

Attend the event to:

  • Be inspired by entrepreneurial speakers
  • Meet advisers who can help your business growm
  • Attend workshops on topics from social media to sales, international trade and selling to retailers
  • Connect with fellow entrepreneurs
  • Access funding opportunities
  • Spend a day working ‘on’ your business not ‘in’ it!

Keynote Agenda:

10.00am: Welcome, Emma Jones and Joni Farthing

10.10am: Show me the Money!

  • Nicola Horlick, Love Money
  • Sarah Gosling OBE, f-crowd
  • Mike Jackson, Bristol WebStart

10.30am: How I built a franchise business

  • Gabrielle Lixton, Turtle Tots
  • Lee Dancy, Barking Mad

10.50am: How I built an online business

  • Alex Depledge, Founder,
  • Julia Elliot Brown, Founder,

11.10am: Coffee & meet stand owners

11.40am: Great Western Powerhouse

12.00pm: Massive milestones…how to achieve your goals – Julie Creffield, Too Fat to Run

12.30pm: Lunch and afternoon business workshops

4.00pm: Drinks and networking

Workshops include:

  • Alison Battisby, founder of Avocado Social – Social media for small businesses
  • Elizabeth Malone Johnstone, founder of Digitise This – DIY SEO for start-ups
  • Nadine Dereza, founder of PS Programmes – Public Speaking Workshop
  • Anis Qizilbash, founder of Mindful Sales – 7 steps to selling anything
  • Crowdcube – Crowdfunding for small businesses
  • Tessa Stuart, packaging and promotion expert – How to get your food brand noticed

Find out more and register at:

Business Opportunities with WeConnect International

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WEConnect International is a corporate-led non-profit and their goal is to connect more majority women owned businesses (those that are at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by one or more women) into the corporate supply chain. Their corporate members represent $700 billion in annual purchasing power and are true pioneers in inclusive sourcing and global supplier development. More information can be found on their website:


New Replacement Warehouse Robot – UK

The requirement is for a robotic palletising system to palletise shipper cartons from twelve input conveyor spurs to output pallets. The system will comprise of the following hardware:

2 X Palletising Robots; A 20 metre linear base; Twin gripper head; 2 X Cell control system; All securing and foundation bolts; Packing and delivery to site; Offloading and positioning; Installation and Training. If this is something your firm may be able to provide, please let me know as I have a much more detailed specification that I can share with you.

Programmable Logic Controller Upgrade – UK

The requirement is to upgrade the obsolete S5 hardware to ET200MP, the WinCC SCADA and S7 CPU’s to 1500 class. The automated warehouse is controlled from a central Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system running Siemens WinCC V5.1. The warehouse is split into three areas: SCL, SCS and FGW and each area has a single Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) associated with it that interfaces back to the WinCC SCADA. Remove all remaining S5 PLC’s that exist within the SCL and SCS systems and replace the main PLC CPU’s with up to date units and upgrade the SCADA from version 5.1 to the latest version (V7). S5 PLCs to be replaced: 1. Transfer Car, SCS ; 2. Gramec, SCL ; 3. Line 4 lift, SCL; 4. Line 10 lift, SCL; 5. Line 11 lift, SCL.

Stainless Steel Fabrication Services – UK

The supplier must be able to provide engineering stainless steel fabrication works in GMP pharmaceutical manufacturing areas. Jobs are varied based on requirements of the engineering group to maintain equipment, make continuous improvements in the manufacturing zones and modifications to pharma manufacturing equipment. The incumbent supplier has one person based at site full time and the contract is for approximately 6,500 man hours a year. The supplier needs to have pharma experience and capabilities to manufacture in GMP areas. A locally based supplier would be advantageous – the site is in Northumberland, UK. Weekend working is also often required.

 Sorting and Containment Suppliers – Europe (including Eastern Europe)

They require a supplier who can provide supervisors and inspectors (often at short notice) to their plants.

Inspectors need to be able to do the following:

Rework: Execute rework based on documented instructions, potentially inspection according to checklist included, for components and complete products; Assure that all Quality concerns are documented (via failure list or checklist); Speaking and understanding of local language.

Simple Inspection: Execute incoming goods inspection according test planning; Execute quarantine area for non-conforming parts / products; Execute measures or check activities according to control plan for components and complete products.

Supervisors need to be able to do the following:

Complex Inspection / Supervision: Plan and execute all necessary measurements in the lab; Manage gauge and test equipment calibration system; Perform calibration, R&R studies and wear trend analyses; Ensure compliance to ISO / IEC 17025 standard or adequate based on customer requirements.

Quality Support: Subordinate to AQE Engineer; customer liaison or plant SQA; Technical administrator; Defect shut off process, Supplier Management, Interims Management and Compliance Management, Perform IMDS; Ensure that customer and internally identified quality issues are resolved using the JCI problem solving methods (8D Report, Problem Solving Document “PSD”, PCAD, Kepner-Tregoe, etc.); Prepare control plans for purchase and execution of incoming goods inspection according to test planning; Ensure defect-free deliveries of purchased part to production and evaluate supplier capability and prepare necessary reports; Monitor supplier performance and coordinate MQR activities/ meetings; Prepare necessary corrective / preventive actions, follow up, verify and release corrective actions; Communicate with suppliers in case of non-conforming parts and ensure corrective actions; Ensure Supplier Part Submission Process (PPAP) for new and changed products and support APQP activities; Manage quarantine area for non-conforming parts/products.

Furniture Installation Services – Europe

Requirement for a supplier who can install furniture products manufactured by Haworth/Herman Miller inside Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Providers need to be able to read floor plans and install products in those regions and speak the native language which is a key requirement on the project site. They are interested in installers that can demonstrate prior experience working in those markets for other large multinational organisations.

Free webinar: So you want to be on a board – but do you have what it takes? Thursday 21st May at 5pm GMT

Whether it’s the board of an SME, a charity, a public sector organisation or even the board of governors at a local school, you’ve got to have the skills, disciplines, the passion, traits and characteristics to get you there and keep you there. Dr Yvonne Thompson CBE Author of “7 Traits of Highly Successful Women on Boards”, interviewed 22 women currently occupying board positions in large, small, public and private sector companies and organisations across the UK, which resulted in this book now coined “the board women’s bible”. Through a range of challenging questions the interviews yielded insightful and very personal responses about the business women’s ascension to the boardroom; or to the top of their industry sectors, and what it takes to help them stay there. During this WEConnect International webinar you will find out what the acronym L.E.A.D.E.R.S. mean and which traits the interviewees most associated with their success. 

More information and the online sign up form can be found here: