Book review of “Feminine Capital: Unlocking the Power of Women Entrepreneurs”

In Feminine Capital, Barbara Orser and Catherine Elliott (University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management) build on existing gender and entrepreneurship literature by exploring the nature of feminine capital and its power to transform entrepreneurship. The book draws on four decades of research, with Orser and Elliott setting the scene by using credible stories and scenarios to explain the concepts and theories they present throughout the book. The authors celebrate the feminine by describing women’s experiences in the world of venture creation.Feminine Capital explores how venture creation is changing: Women represent two million globally, so it is not surprising that more women are creating jobs, products and services and investing back earnings into their families, firms and communities. Orser and Elliott ask the question: “Why is it that being female is often deemed as an entrepreneurial handicap?” The authors suggest that feminine capital should be recognized as an asset in the world of business today. Psychological flaws such as fear of success, risk adversity and failure to delegate are not restricted to just the female psyche. Orser and Elliott describe how entrepreneurship can be viewed as masculine because its language is infused to personify the entrepreneur as masculine. The absence of women in our collective memory is, in part, the product of how the media and scholars have systematically ignored female entrepreneurship. They cleverly examine the traditional capital which saw women participating in domestic chores in the home. Early management studies and scholars such as Adam Smith and Joseph Schumpter (masculine characteristics, dominant and aggressive) explained entrepreneurship success as the product of “need for achievement” “propensity to take risks” and “locus of control”. This type of aggressive masculinity is now changing, and entrepreneurship is moving toward gender equality.

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