WOMEN WHO CLIMB OVER THE WALL: THE MATERNAL WALL, FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS AND WORK/FAMILY BALANCE

Open Access
Author:
Dean, Bisi Oliana Oshinaike
Graduate Program:
Human Resources and Employment Relations
Degree:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
April 07, 2009
Committee Members:
  • Tyler William Drago, Thesis Advisor
  • Robert Drago, Thesis Advisor
Keywords:
  • entrepreneurship
  • gender
  • Work/Family Balance
  • Maternal Wall
Abstract:
ABSTRACT The purpose of this research is three-fold. First, find evidence to support the theory that female entrepreneurs and small business owners are affected by general and maternity-based barriers to advancement opportunities in the mainstream employment. Second, explore female entrepreneurship and female small business ownership by ascertaining what factors can limit the success of female owned businesses. Third, explore the concept of self-employment as a solution to the obstacles women encountered in their professional careers. Five categories of hypotheses follow from these three goals. Additionally, this study has implications for future employment decisions as female self-employment may be viewed as a solution to the tribulations experienced by women in traditional employment. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine female entrepreneurs and/or small business owners. Major themes were explored to discover if and how self-employment may be perceived as a solution by women. It was found that these women experienced some kinds of gender specific stereotypes and some work/ family balance issues at their former workplaces. They also believed and engaged in Bias Avoidance Behaviors. These women were either pushed or pulled into self-employment, although other motivators were identified. Women did not recount difficult interactions with financial institutions or a lack of confidence in financial matters, nor did they have trouble accessing networks. Rather, self-employed women experienced work/family imbalance when they had their own businesses. Despite a lack of evidence that businesswomen experienced stereotypes, barriers to advancement opportunities, and/or obstacles in self-employment, women still reported perceiving self- employment as a solution to their needs for flexibility, especially with respect to work/family balance issues. Limitations and future research are also discussed.