Women as entrepreneurs and investors has been neglected until recent years in the Business History. The lack of information in the official and published sources, along with biases in traditional business historiography, has been responsible for this voluntary oblivion. Fortunately, a growing group of researchers, using alternative sources or conventional sources in a more imaginative way, have made contributions that reinforce the idea that “women count” in the last decades. Until 1990, gender studies had been focused on the labor market and labor relations, analyzing the female economic contribution as workers, rather than employers, owners, or independent contractors. Also, the history of women had focused their efforts on social and labor issues. After 2000, new publications analyzed the presence of women in business structures, mainly in American and English frameworks.
This session aims to show, providing a selection of ongoing research, that women have had a tangible impact on the development of modern capitalism. The session will provide an opportunity for specialists in the economic history of different areas of the world to present work in progress on different themes connected to female entrepreneurs. Some of them are study cases of understudied contexts such as Russia, Spain, or Turkey, but there is also room for the female managers in Britain, and a suggestive world approach on the state of art of female entrepreneurs. The chronology of the session covers from
the nineteenth century and gets into the twenty-first century. Our papers will analyze the strategies employed by those women who settle economic ventures, establish firms, and manage businesses. They will also shed light on the unconventional, and hitherto invisible, ways in which women act as entrepreneurs (i.e., their role in directly and indirectly shaping family businesses). Several of the papers will analyze the incorporation of women into the business fabric during the nineteenth century, a period that has been largely neglected in the literature, because the contemporary sourced stressed the domestic role of women, obscuring a more complex economic reality. The works will also pay attention to the financial contribution of women to the business fabric, providing new evidence on how financial institutions captured female capital to push modern economic development, while paradoxically women had little freedom to use their money.
The session will seek to explain the contribution and dimension of women to the contemporary business environment.
AGIR, Seven (Middle East Technical University, Turkey); KAYHAN ELBIRLIK, Leyla (Bogazici University, Turkey), Managing the Family: Women and Business in the Turkish Historical Context.
GINALSKI, Stéphanie (Institute of Political Studies, University of Lausanne, Switzerland), How women broke into the “old boys’” Swiss corporate network.
MARTÍNEZ-RODRÍGUEZ, Susana (University of Murcia, Spain); HERNÁNDEZ-NICOLÁS, Carmen Mª (University of Murcia, Spain). Another silent nation of shareholders? The women of the Hispano Americano Bank (1922-1935). Gender differential and financial inclusion in historical perspective.
MUÑOZ-ABELEDO, Luisa (Santiago de Compostela University, Spain); CAÑAL, Verónica (University of Oviedo, Spain); Women doing business in North Spanish port cities (1880-1913).
RODRÍGUEZ-MEDROÑO, Paula (Pablo de Olavide University, Spain), Female entrepreneurs in times of crisis: a longitudinal study of European countries.