Problems Faced by Women during International Assignments
Problems Faced by Women During International Assignments
The global outlook for female entrepreneurs has never been more encouraging (Riebe, 2003). Internationally, one in ten women is self-employed, and it is estimated that women own and manage up to one third of all businesses in developed countries. Nelton (1998) regarded this growth of female entrepreneurship since the 1970s (from 5 per cent to 38 per cent in 30 years, Hisrich et al., 1997) as one of the most significant, yet quietest, revolutions of our time.
In addition, it is evident that the entrepreneurial activity of these female entrepreneurs is making a distinct difference in their communities and economies, in both the developed and developing countries. Yet despite the growing number of female entrepreneurs:
… we know surprisingly little about women entrepreneurs' business practices, survival and growth strategies, and their perceptions of their entrepreneurial careers (Starr and Yudkin, 1996).
In addition, despite the extent of female entrepreneurs involvement in new business formation, “the economic impact of women led businesses has been down-played” (Carter et al., 2002):
Analysis of the current situation:
Female entrepreneurship is an under-researched area with tremendous economic potential and one that requires special attention (Henry, 2002).
This paper, therefore, endeavours to address these issues through a six-country study of female entrepreneurs. It examines both the start-up and growth of these entrepreneurial firms and aims to provide insight to this under-researched area.
Addressing the entrepreneur's personal motivations for initiating start-up activities has received significant attention in the entrepreneurial literature (Carter, 2000a,b) and is considered one of the key components for entrepreneurial success (Timmons and Spinelli, 2003). The literature often reveals various “push” and “pull” factors as motivators for business start-up (Alstete, 2002) or alternatively negative and positive factors as discussed by Deakins and Whittam (2000). The “push” or negative factors are associated with the necessity factors that force the female into pursuing her business idea. These can be redundancy, unemployment, frustration with previous employment, the need to earn a reasonable living and a flexible work schedule, reflective of the family caring role that is still expected from women (Alstete, 2002; Orhan and Scott, 2001). Similarly, Welsh (1988) and Carter and Cannon (1988) found evidence of a “glass ceiling effect” that impede executive women from reaching more senior executive positions and thus pushes them from management positions into their own business.
Consequently, Catley and Hamilton (1998) state that self-employment was in fact a last resort for some women involved in their study. Similarly, Deakins and Whittam (2000) emphasise that in this situation becoming an entrepreneur is not a first choice, but nevertheless argue that such negative, motivational factors are more important with entrepreneurs drawn from certain groups in society that may face discrimination, such as ethnic minority groups, younger age groups and women. Cromie (1987) in his comparative study of business start-up motivations among males and females suggests that men and women do differ in terms of the emphasis they attach to particular ...