“Women doing their own thing” : media representations of female entrepreneurship

Eikhof, Doris and Summers, Juliette and Carter, Sara (2013) “Women doing their own thing” : media representations of female entrepreneurship. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research, 19 (5). pp. 547-564. ISSN 1355-2554

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    Abstract

    The purpose of this paper is to discuss the impact gendered media representations of entrepreneurs may have on the reality of female entrepreneurship. It analyses the representation of women entrepreneurs in a women's magazine. Media representations influence, firstly, whether women perceive entrepreneurship as desirable and attainable, and thus impact the strength and direction of their entrepreneurial aspirations. Secondly, media representations shape how key stakeholders such as bankers or clients view and interact with female business owners, thereby impacting women entrepreneurs’ business relations and opportunities. The paper reviews research on media representations of women entrepreneurs, gender inequalities in entrepreneurial activity and work before presenting an in-depth qualitative analysis of a magazine series reporting on female entrepreneurs. The authors’ analysis reveals how the woman's magazine in question portrays female entrepreneurship as focused on traditionally female activities and pursuits and as domestically-centred. Relating these findings to evidence on gender inequalities in entrepreneurial activity, the paper raises important questions about the impact of media representations of women entrepreneurs. The paper demonstrates the benefits of understanding entrepreneurial activity as work and includes analytical perspectives from the sociology of work in the analysis of media representations of entrepreneurship.