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Female Entrepreneurship: Can Cooperatives Contribute to Overcoming the Gender Gap? A Spanish First Step to Equality

Maria Bastida (), Luisa Helena Pinto (), Ana Olveira Blanco () and M. Teresa Cancelo ()
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Maria Bastida: Department of Business Administration and Commerce, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Santiago de Compostela, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Luisa Helena Pinto: School of Economics, University of Porto, 4200-464 Porto, Portugal
Ana Olveira Blanco: Department of Business Administration and Commerce, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Santiago de Compostela, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 6, 1-17

Abstract: To date, entrepreneurship research has rarely focused on cooperatives. Recent research has suggested there is a positive association between cooperatives and women’s entrepreneurial activity based on the assumption that this model is especially suitable for women’s expectations and is favourable to their economic entrepreneurial development. However, few studies have empirically tested these propositions. This research, which analysed data from 264 Spanish cooperatives, confirms these findings. A mixed-methods approach was used. In the first stage, a Delphi study was run with 11 cooperative entrepreneurship experts to ask what factors may be decisive for women preferring a cooperative model. In the second stage, the factors derived from the Delphi study were used in a survey targeting female cooperative associates. The findings confirmed that female cooperative owners perceived this business model to be aligned with their values and best fit their work and lifestyle. This research contributes to the existing social entrepreneurship literature by providing empirical evidence from the Spanish context that highlights the role of women in cooperatives. The findings also emphasize the need for responsive policies and programmes that promote the cooperative model since it promotes female employment and women’s entrepreneurial activity even in periods of economic austerity.

Keywords: women entrepreneurship; women entrepreneurs; cooperatives; social economy; social entrepreneurship; reconciliation practices (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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