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Challenging the concept of risk in relation to women’s entrepreneurship

Anne Laure Humbert (European Institute for Gender Equality, Vilnius, Lithuania,)
Clare Brindley (Business School, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 2 March 2015




This paper aims to challenge the myth of risk-averseness among women entrepreneurs and analyses risk in the context of gender. It explores risk perceptions and examines the relationship between the concept of risk and women’s socially attributed roles.


This paper adopts a qualitative approach, where ten Irish women business owners were interviewed, that encouraged them to talk about their entrepreneurial experiences. The research design aimed to elicit data concerning how gender and the socio-economic context influenced risk.


Risk is shown as a gendered concept which needs to be widened to suit the experiences of women entrepreneurs and the influences of the gendered expectations of care dictated by the socio-economic environment.

Practical implications

Risk as a concept needs to be expanded to go beyond financial risk. The different types of risk encountered by women should be addressed by policy to promote a further growth of women-led enterprises and support those considering self-employment.


The paper develops an understanding of risk among women entrepreneurs in their socio-economic context. It challenges the viewpoint of seeing women entrepreneurs as risk-averse and thus leading to low-growth prospects for their business ventures.



Humbert, A.L. and Brindley, C. (2015), "Challenging the concept of risk in relation to women’s entrepreneurship", Gender in Management, Vol. 30 No. 1, pp. 2-25.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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