Monday, November 27, 2017

Gender and Academic Entrepreneurship

In  "Academic Entrepreneurship – Gendered Discourses and Ghettos," by Faltholm, et al, there is a discussion of gender as it fits into the world of entrepreneurship.  Specifically targeting women in higher education academic careers, the article refers to the female population as being part of an "entrepreneurship ghetto." In a male-dominated conceptualization of entrepreneurship, women are
seen as partaking in the activities, but not seen as part of the main contributors...more of a separate group of those practicing the components of entrepreneurship.

Other references were made to the "glass ceiling" of the corporate world that makes it more difficult for women to be seen as entrepreneurial; thus, leading to more outsourcing, women filling the roles of consultants which help to see them more as entrepreneurs in their career fields.

The "Daring Gender" project at Lulea University of Technology and Umea University that spanned from 2008-2012, aimed to "analyze, highlight, challenge, and in the long run, change prevailing gender patters on academic entrepreneurship," using Innovation funding from the Swedish government.

The study found that one of the issues with recognizing women as entrepreneurial in the academic setting is under-representation of women in the programs and concluded that if a university wants to "commercialize" and promote research results, men and women should have equal chances to do so.  In the effort to create this environment, however, appears the possibility of magnifying the issue by treating women as a special group and not part of the mainstream entrepreneurial community desired.  In order to promote sustainable change, there needs to be a restructuring of the mindset and organization of the place of work and research.

Also, there must be an emphasis to step back and recognize the issues that the promotion of academic entrepreneurship presents for academia itself.  In order to provide systematic change, there should be the ability to recognize and work with the problematic aspects of making changes to promote entrepreneurism in the academic world and accept those as part of the overall process.