Gender, Work and Organisation
9th Biennial International Interdisciplinary conference
29th June-1st July, 2016
Keele University, UK
Entrepreneurship and feminist-theoretical perspectives
- 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*.
The Feminist Review Trust are offering grants for projects in the UK and internationally that transform the lives of women.
Open for Applications
Objectives of Fund
The Trust aims to support projects in the UK and internationally that transform the lives of women.
Grants of up to £15,000 are available. However, the Trustees rarely give out awards of this amount.
Match Funding Restrictions
Applicants should bear in mind that they may only be offered partial funding.
Who Can Apply
Individuals and organisations in the UK and internationally are eligible to apply.
Funding is not available for the following:
- Applications from students to support them on courses of any kind, this includes sub-degree, Bachelors, Masters and Doctorates. Nor will funding be available for doctoral fieldwork. Exceptionally contributions of up to £500 may be made to assist a student from a poor country.
- Applications from academics to fund work which could be funded by more traditional sources of funding. This means that summer projects for US academics are very unlikely to receive funding.
- Where academics do receive funding, this will not cover overheads, teaching buy-outs or equivalent.
- Applications to continue doctoral studies. Post-docs can be funded from more conventional sources.
- Religious groups.
The Trust rarely funds stand-alone research.
Funding is for projects that relate to the Trust’s objectives, which are:
- To advance the education of the public in the subject of gender.
- To promote equality of opportunity between women and men in any part of the world.
- To alleviate poverty and hardship by promoting and advancing good health and education among women in any part of the world.
- To undertake other charitable purposes.
The Trust will fund the following:
- Hard to fund projects. Some types of projects are difficult to fund. Typically these projects have no other obvious sources of funding. This might mean, for example, that traditional academic sources are either not interested in the area or that it is an activist project or that it is too feminist for most conventional funding sources. For example the Trust supported the writing and publication of the history of Rape Crisis in Scotland and the translation and updating sections of ‘Women and Their Bodies’ into Arabic and Hebrew.
- Pump priming activities. This means that the Trust will provide a small amount of funding to help start an activity in the hope that it will then be able attract sufficient funding to continue. For example the Trust funded a project in Argentina to strengthen the capacity of organisations promoting women’s rights and a project to provide audio visual equipment for a feminist social centre in Madrid. In each case these projects have hopefully helped to create a sustainable activity.
- Interventionist projects which support feminist values. It is often difficult for projects around core feminist concerns such as abortion rights and domestic violence to find funding. The Trust has supported, for example, Asylum Aid (an independent charity workshop with asylum seekers in the UK) to promote its ‘Charter of Rights’ for Women Seeking Asylum. The Trust has also supported the 40th Anniversary Campaign of Abortion Rights in the UK, a documentary about abortion in Trinidad and Tobago and a feminist art studio in Tbilisi, Georgia.
- Training and development projects: funding for projects which provide training in relevant areas. For example, the Trust has funded English lessons for sex workers in London; leadership skills training for women in the voluntary sector and volunteer training at Glasgow Women’s Library.
- One off events: the Trust supported Cine25 as part of the celebrations of 25 years of Women’s Studies at the University of York (UK); a seminar for the Lileth Project (a violence against women housing related project), and a workshop on the gender dimensions of Bulgarian Immigration Policy.
- Dissemination: the Trust will fund the production and distribution of relevant material. Too often work has had a more limited impact than it should because it was not well distributed. For example the Trust has supported the production of a booklet on Asian women’s experiences of higher education in the UK and the distribution of publications by the Rights of Women (a non-profit UK group).
- Core funding: the Trust realises that many groups struggle to raise core funding. The Trustees are willing to offer core funding to cover staff costs, accommodation etc.
- Other projects: the Trust may still support an application that does not easily fit into any of the above categories. For example, the Trust has funded a project to capture oral histories of women’s experience of the menopause. Applicants should contact the Trust to discuss eligibility prior to submitting an application.
In 2015, international applications will be particularly welcome in the following areas:
- Violence against women.
- Disabled women and girls.
- Women, sustainability and climate change.
Where projects include a research element, applicants should describe the steps that have been taken to ensure the research will be undertaken in an ethical manner and careful attention should be paid to the costs.
How To Apply
2015 deadlines: 31 January 2015; 31 May 2015; and 30 September 2015.
Link to guidelines:
Please see below a call for papers for an edited book entitled ‘Feminist Beginnings: Being an Early Career Feminist Academic in a Changing Academy’, to be edited by Dr Rachel Thwaites and Dr Amy Godoy-Pressland. Please circulate around your networks.
In a fast-changing higher education academy, where marketisation is increasingly becoming the dominant model, the pressures on academics seem great, while the need to ‘play the game’ to succeed has never been more important. Within this context, entering the academy as an early career academic presents many challenges, as well as possibilities. Moving from the relative autonomy, and often bubble of safety, of the PhD into teaching or research contracts where there may be less flexibility and freedom within the institutional hierarchy, can be a real step change. Early career academics also frequently face the prospect of working on fixed term contracts, with little security and no certain prospect of advancement, while constantly looking for the next contract.
Being a feminist early career academic adds a further layer; how does one maintain one’s feminist identity and politics within what has traditionally been a very male-dominated institution where few women reach the most senior positions? Moreover the ethos of the marketising university where students are sometimes viewed as ‘customers’, may sit uneasily with a politics of equality for all. Feminist values and practice can provide a means of working through the challenges, but may also bring complications. As feminist researchers and teachers ourselves, we feel the impact of trying to live out a feminist politics provides another set of priorities which affect the way one thinks about the everyday and overarching experience of an academic career. This political outlook can lead to transformative events, but can also raise difficulties when in a non-feminist department or a research climate which does not take gender seriously.
This edited volume will thus explore the early years of an academic career from a feminist perspective and should appeal to students and academics at all stages of their careers. We therefore welcome contributions which provide findings from research studies, theory pieces, and experiential/personal pieces. The format of these is open to some interpretation and we will accept pieces of up to 3000 words for a personal piece and up to 8000 words for a theory/research paper on themes including, but not limited to:
* Being a feminist in higher education
* Moving from a women’s/gender studies centre into the wider academic community
* Maintaining your feminist identity
* Feminism in the curriculum and in the classroom
* Negotiating the academic hierarchy as an early career feminist
* Building a feminist support network
* The academic ‘lifestyle’: how to be an ‘academic’
We define ‘early career’ as those within five years of having been awarded their PhD and ‘higher education’ as any university setting. We are actively seeking contributions which will provide a wide international perspective, however they must be written in English.
Deadline for Abstracts: 5th December 2014 (decision to be made by 6th February 2015)
Provisional date for full article: 7th September 2015