Business History; Selin Dilli (Utrecht Univ.), Carry van Lieshout (Open Univ.), Jennifer Aston (Northumbria Univ.), and Robert Bennett (Cambridge Univ.) (Web)
Proposals by: 30.11.2023
The editorial team invites scholars to contribute to the special issue that will examine changes in female entrepreneurship over the 20th century and the factors explaining these shifts. In the special issue, they define entrepreneurship deliberately broadly to capture the different manifestations of female entrepreneurship in the past. The editors define female entrepreneurs as women who were taking the risk and making business decisions on their own account to create new goods, services and ideas in the market under uncertainty, either as co-workers in family businesses, solo self-employed, employers, or innovators (Aston and Bishop 2020).
Despite this growing body of literature, there are two major gaps in our knowledge about female entrepreneurship, which this special issue aims to address. First, in the absence of systematic time-series data, it remains inconclusive if and how women’s engagement in business changed over the turbulent times of the long 20th century across geographic contexts. Second, in the absence of a systematic approach to the 20th century and a comparison across country contexts, we cannot identify the valid explanations that answer the question of why women’s engagement in business (did not) change(d). For instance, it is hard to determine how the larger cultural, political and societal shifts around women’s position during the 20th century influenced women’s participation in business life.
This special issue therefore calls for scholarly research that focuses on the vibrant nature of business women in the long 20th century, and the explanations behind the challenges and solutions women faced when they started and ran their business during this period. The editorial team is interested in contributions working on the following exemplary research questions:
- Was there a universal decline in women’s entrepreneurship across the world regions?
- Which factors influenced this decline, and when and how did female entrepreneurship recover?
- What forms of entrepreneurship did women engage in over the 20th century?
- Which opportunities and challenges did different female entrepreneurs have in common and how did they differ from one another? Continue reading