Permission Granted- A manifesto for female-centric entrepreneurship.
The cultural conversation around entrepreneurship tends to focus predominantly on the male experience. This is also reflected in academia, where the debate regarding entrepreneurial identity has drawn attention to the gender-blind assumptions informing this analysis, thus suggesting that the normal entrepreneur is 35yr old white male (McAdam, 2022). These assumptions or biases can have serious implications for those considering entrepreneurship, who do not fit the ideal image of the male entrepreneur (Drakopoulou Dodd & Anderson, 2007). Indeed, this lack of fit with the accepted model of entrepreneurship has resulted in women being made invisible, marginalized, and deemed the ‘other’, in the entrepreneurship field. Women must, therefore, reach into a social space that is fundamentally unsympathetic to their gendered characterization. For those women who decide to engage in entrepreneurial activity, they are positioned within the contemporary entrepreneurial discourse, including popular media, as a discrete and separate category with their own label – “female entrepreneurs”. This special classification only goes to confirm that there are normal entrepreneurs (men, family teams, partnerships) and, separate from them, are women”. It is unsurprising therefore that women may be reluctant to claim the entrepreneurial identity and feel that they may need permission to do so. This reluctance is significant as “owning/claiming” is an important first step in the building of a credible entrepreneurial identity.
Gender Equality in Northern Ireland: Context, Priorities and Opportunities
The keynote will consider the context of gender equality in Northern Ireland, the work of the Equality Commission, and some key opportunities and challenges to further advancing gender equality locally.