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Furthering a Gendered Understanding of Social Entrepreneurship

Special issue call for papers from International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship

Guest Editors:

Dr Kate Lewis, New Zealand Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship Research Centre, Massey University
Professor Alex Nicholls, Saı¨d Business School, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

In Jennings and Brush’s (2013, p. 697) review of the development of women’s entrepreneurship research, social entrepreneurship is a topic they ‘‘dare women’s entrepreneurship scholars to pursue more boldly’’. The domain of social entrepreneurship has gained increasing traction in the recent past (both in terms of real world uptake and theoretical advancement). However, limited emphasis has been given to discerning how gender may (or may not) nuance understanding. Whilst the capacity for entrepreneurship generally, and social entrepreneurship specifically, to empower women is well established (Datta and Ghailey, 2012), Al-Dajani and Marlow (2013, p. 519) assert there is a ‘‘danger of celebrating entrepreneurial activities as an idealised solution to poverty, marginalisation and subordination’’. Notwithstanding the above, an opportunity exists for the adoption of a feminist analytic approach to contribute to reframing (Calas et al., 2009) and enhancing the complexity of understanding that underpins the gender-social entrepreneurship nexus.

Much existing research has focused on women collectively as targets of social entrepreneurship (for example, in the context of microenterprise in the developing world) rather than as individual agents of social change. However, recent work has sought to evidence other patterns in respect to female participation in social entrepreneurship. Variance in values, motives and attitudes according to gender has been established as having implications, particularly as women are reported to be explicit about their objective to pursue a social mission via business (Bruni et al., 2004) and to use social enterprise to meet local community needs (Shaw and Carter, 2007). In the UK research has shown participatory differences in the third sector according to gender (Teasdale et al., 2011), with Levie and Hart (2011) finding that social entrepreneurs there are more likely to be women than are business entrepreneurs.

We invite empirical or theoretical papers that address the following topic facets (however, the list is not exhaustive and we encourage
contributions grounded in dimensions beyond those listed here):

  • Gender and the discourse of social entrepreneurship
  • Case studies of female social entrepreneurs from a critical perspective
  • Comparative studies from a gender standpoint
  • The role of context (geographic and other) in the gendered enactment of social entrepreneurship
  • Barriers and enablers for women in social enterprise
  • Gendered perspectives on social enterprise policy
  • Values and motives of female social entrepreneurs
  • Explorations of gender and social entrepreneurship in the developing world
  • Gender implications for the scaling, measurement and management of social enterprise.

Interested authors should, in the first instance, submit a short abstract to the Guest Editors: Kate Lewis ([email protected]) and Alex Nicholls ([email protected]) by 1 March 2014. Full papers will be due by 1 August 2014.

For more information on the journal and submission guidelines for full papers please see:

The Guest Editors also encourage authors to consider submitting their work to the Diana International Research Conference to be held in Stockholm, 15-17 June 2014, which will include sessions related to the special issue. The deadline for abstract submission to the Diana conference is 31 January 2014.


Al-Dajani, H. and Marlow, S. (2013), ‘‘Empowerment and entrepreneurship: a theoretical framework’’, International Journal of
Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research
, Vol. 19 No. 5, pp. 503-524.

Bruni, A.S., Gherardi, S. and Poggio, B. (2004), ‘‘Doing gender, doing entrepreneurship: an ethnographic account of intertwined practices’’, Gender, Work & Organization, Vol. 11 No. 4, pp. 406-429.

Calas, M.B., Smircich, L. and Bourne, K.A. (2009), ‘‘Extending the boundaries: reframing ‘entrepreneurship as social change’ through
feminist perspectives’’, Academy of Management Review, Vol. 34 No. 3, pp. 552-569.

Datta, P.B. and Ghailey, R. (2012), ‘‘Empowering women through social entrepreneurship: case study of a women’s cooperative in
India’’, Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, Vol. 36 No. 3, pp. 569-587.

Jennings, J.E. and Brush, C.G. (2013), ‘‘Research on women entrepreneurs: challenges to (and from) the broader entrepreneurship
literature’’, The Academy of Management Annals, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 663-715.

Levie, J. and Hart, M. (2011), ‘‘Business and social entrepreneurs in the UK: gender, context and commitment’’, International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 200-217.

Shaw, E. and Carter, S. (2007), ‘‘Social entrepreneurship: theoretical antecedents and empirical analysis of entrepreneurial processes and outcomes’’, Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 418-34.

Teasdale, S., McKay, S., Phillimore, J. and Teasdale, N. (2011), ‘‘Exploring gender and social entrepreneurship: women’s leadership,
employment and participation in the third sector and social enterprises’’, Voluntary Sector Review, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 57-76.