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Accounting for change: professional status, gender disadvantage and self-employment

Marlow, Susan and Carter, Sara (2004) Accounting for change: professional status, gender disadvantage and self-employment. Women In Management Review, 19 (1). pp. 5-17. ISSN 0964-9425

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Research investigating female self-employment has often highlighted gender-based differences in the performance of women-owned firms. Some studies have linked the under-performance of women-owned firms to the lower levels of capitalisation used at business inception, associating this with disadvantages accrued in waged work and occupational segregation more generally. Drawing on this association, there has been a tendency to treat self-employed women as an undifferentiated group, failing to recognise heterogeneity therein. Considers the impact of the possession of professional qualifications on self-employment and to what degree they might have the potential to mobilise substantial business capital. The discussion explores the influence of gender in the work and career experiences of women and whether the advantages accrued from professional status might challenge gender disadvantage within self-employment. Results are presented from an exploratory study of male-owned and female-owned accountants in independent practice, which suggest that gender disadvantage persists, even within the context of professional practice.