How Gender Affects Life Course Pathways to Entrepreneurship

How Gender Affects Life Course
Pathways to Entrepreneurship
Dr Julia Rouse
Chair, Gender and Enterprise Network
Director, MMUBS CBS Clusters
Today: Engaged Scholarship
• Putting academic research evidence and
argument alongside practice based
• Making sense together of ‘wicked’ social
• Feminist organising
“The scholarship of engagement means
connecting the rich resources of the university
to our most pressing social, civic and ethical
problems. . . . I have this growing conviction that
what’s also needed is not just more programs, but a
larger purpose, a sense of mission, a larger clarity
of direction”
—Ernest Boyer, Scholarship Reconsidered:
Priorities of the Professoriate
Self-Employment in the UK (ONS, 2014)
• At a 40 year peak (4.6m; 15% of main jobs)
– Particular growth in older workers and women (up 34%
but still only 1/3 of the self-employed)
• During/post-recession
– Most employment growth = self-employment
– Exit rate after 5 years : 32-37% down to 23%
– Earnings declined by 22%
• Most common occupations: builders, taxis, joiners
– For women: domestics, childminders, hairdressers
My Concerns:
• How does entrepreneurship (informal trade, selfemployment, small business owner-management)
fit into families, life courses and communities?
• How can entrepreneurship be a route of social
mobility (or at least stability)?
– Overcoming gender, class, ethnicity structures?
• How can we innovate?
Key elements of my work:
• Longitudinal analysis of enterprise
Critique of ‘enterprise inclusion’ policy
Critique of welfare/childcare policies
• Statistical modelling of life course pathways
into entrepreneurship and of entrepreneur
• Maternity in small enterprise: for
entrepreneurs, employers, employees
My collaborators:
• Dr Dilani Jayawarna, Professor John Kitching
• Dr Allan Macpherson, Dr Natalie Sappleton, Dr
Asma Mirza
 Manchester, Tameside, Salford councils
 NEA/NES Programme
 European Social Fund
 Economic and Social Research Council
 Leverhulme Trust
 Oxfam
 Equality and Human Rights Commission
First: what is this process of
• Entrepreneurship – the mobilisation of
resources in (profitable) market exchange.
• Key resources:
Financial capital
Human capital
Social capital
Labour capital
Contextualising Entrepreneurship in
Socially Structured Life Courses
Social processes affect an individual’s capacity to
accrue and mobilise resources in (competitive)
market exchange across 3 intersecting life courses:
► Individual ‘career’
► Household/family
► Business
Intersecting Structuring Forces in
Life Courses
• Class – the transmission of resources by parents
• Gender – socially governed ways of being a wo/man
• Ethnicity – social and cultural practices and resources
associated with culturally defined groups
Entrepreneur Motivations in Early
Establishment: Gendering
 Reluctant entrepreneurs
Convenience entrepreneurs
Social entrepreneurs
Economically driven entrepreneurs
Learning and earning entrepreneurs
Prestige and control entrepreneurs
The Effect of Motivations on Businesses
(Female Dominated)
 Convenience entrepreneurs
Low debt/time investment, slow growth
 Social entrepreneurs
Dependence on grants, high time commitment,
no/low growth
The Effect of Motivations on Businesses
(Male Dominated)
 Economically driven entrepreneurs
Relatively high debt/time investment, moderate growth
 Learning and earning entrepreneurs
Balanced investment, high time commitment, niche
strategies, high growth
 Prestige and control entrepreneurs
High debt investment, low time commitment, high
value strategies, slow growth
The Effect of Motivations on Businesses
(Female and Male)
 Reluctant (young) entrepreneurs
Low investment, low value strategies, slow/no
The Effect of Life Course on Start-Up
• It’s a class thing: more likely to start-up if:
– Your parents had a better job, more wealth, a solid
– You have a better job, more work experience, higher
– Your household is wealthy
• But poverty encourages some ‘survival self-employment’
A Class Thing Intersected by Gender
• Having primary care for childcare makes start-up
much less likely.
– So middle class women may be deterred from
applying their class resources due to their
mothering role.
– The poor are much more likely to start-up if they
can invest long hours due to freedom from
Class Also Affects Entrepreneur Incomes
• In businesses that survive ‘birth’:
– Year 1: £11,513 (median drawings) + £7200 (median
• But there is a concentration of the poor/rich self-employed.
• Class is less predictive of earnings v. start-up
– But investment still matters
– Household wealth supports income growth
..and care responsibilities help cause an
Entrepreneur Gender Pay Gap
• Longer hours = higher earnings throughout the
business life course.
• Being a primary carer = lower earnings.
• More housework = lower earnings now and in the
future (a ‘scarring effect’ on entrepreneur earnings).
• Spouse working long hours = lower earnings but only
at first.
And If An Entrepreneur Has a
Pregnancy in Entrepreneurship
• Maternity Policy
– No right to maternity leave but must take leave to receive
maternity pay
– Exclusion from key rights
• Market pressures – business costs/market rejection
• How Women Cope
– Most absorb costs personally
• Self-exploiting / withdrawing their bodies from the market
• Working up to the birth and returning within 2 weeks
Supporting Women’s Enterprise
Within Life Courses
• Improve support for childcare for small enterprise at
all stages of the business life course
• Overcome the maternity barrier to entrepreneurship
Childcare: How Are We Doing?
Relative invisibility in enterprise support
Until recently, exclusion from Childcare Vouchers
Unclear rewards under Tax Credit System
And Under Recent Reforms?
– Universal Credit: 85% of childcare costs but what is
‘productive self-employment’?
– ‘Tax Free Childcare’ – unavailable if earnings are under
£50pwk but available during start-up and maternity leave;
government pays only 20%.
Maternity: How Are We Doing?
Women entrepreneurs marginalised in policy reviews
Innovations like KIT Days are helpful
Childcare support during maternity leave is welcome
Disconnect maternity pay/leave for entrepreneurs
Extend maternity pay to suspension on H&S grounds
Improve contractors’ right to freedom from discrimination
Fund services that facilitate creative solutions
Workshop Discussions (20 mins)
• How should awareness gendered life course pathways
affect business support?
• What childcare measures would help?
• What maternity measures would help?
• What else needs to be done?

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