Corporate Social Responsibility and Women’s Entrepreneurship: Towards a More Adequate Theory of “Work”

Programs aimed at increasing women’s entrepreneurship are a rapidly proliferating class of CSR initiatives across the globe with participation by many of the world’s largest corporations. The gendered nature of this phenomenon suggests that feminist approaches to CSR may offer a particularly salient mode of their analysis. In this article, I argue that insights from feminist economics regarding the historically prevalent—but narrow and gendered—definition of work, which artificially separates production from reproduction, provide fruitful tools for theory building when conceptualizing gender through the lens of CSR. I demonstrate that the gendered separation of production and reproduction is typically taken as given in entrepreneurship, and that mainstream CSR research has not sufficiently challenged this perspective. I present a conceptual framework of what is to be gained by examining the CSR, entrepreneurship, and feminist economics literatures in combination, and demonstrate how researchers might use this framework for future research.

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