Satisfied at the Bottom: Should Self-Employed Women bother with Male-dominated Industries?

English title: Satisfied at the Bottom: Should Self-Employed Women bother with Male-dominated Industries?

Author(s): Natalie Sappleton -

Language: English

Type: Thesis / dissertation

Year: 2008


The rate at which women migrate from employment into self-employment has increased since 1990, and in Europe today there are more self employed women than ever before. However, women-owned businesses remain concentrated in a narrow range of low-growth industries and the migration of women from employment to self-employment is largely occurring in education, health care and community work. In fact, the types of firms that women own reflect the type of work that they undertake in the home. Men on the other hand, own and operate firms that are broader in scope, sector and size, including those based in industries in which they traditionally do not work, such as catering, cleaning and care. There has been a recent proliferation in policies aimed at encouraging women to enter self-employment in these traditionally male sectors. To date, however, these policies have not been subject to rigorous evaluation and evidence suggests that “entrepreneurial segregation” can affect an entrepreneur’s social capital and general wellbeing. This study considers the relationship between self-employment in a gender typical or atypical sector and social capital and satisfaction. A sample of 2214 male and female business owners is extracted from the 2006 wave of the European Social Survey 2006. The sample is split into four sub-samples – 1) males in traditionally male sectors; 2) males in traditionally female sectors; 3) females in traditionally female sectors and 4) females in traditionally female sectors. Factor analysis is used to construct latent variables measuring social capital and satisfaction. Three dimensions of social capital are identified from the data representing trust, community participation and social networks. Four satisfaction dimensions are identified representing life satisfaction, outlook on life, job satisfaction and freedom from stress. These concepts are concepts are compared amongst the sub-samples. An assessment of the association between social capital and satisfaction is also conducted using bivariate analysis. In the final part of the analysis, ordinary multiple regression is used to determine the predictors of social capital and satisfaction. Women in traditionally female sectors are found to have the highest levels of social capital and satisfaction. In contrast, those individuals – men and women – working in traditionally male sectors exhibit lower levels of social capital and satisfaction. Correlation analysis is then used to establish links between the factors of social capital and satisfaction, for the full sample as well as for the sub-samples. For the full sample, only life satisfaction correlates significantly with all three social capital factors, and only social networks correlates significantly with all four satisfaction factors. However, no discernible pattern is found when the sample is disaggregated by gender and sector. Being self-employed in a gender typical or atypical industry is found to be a predictor of social participation, but having a base in a male- or female-dominated sector has no statistically significant impact. All social capital variables are found to be significant predictors of satisfaction, but sex tradition of industry and sex domination of industry are found to be insignificant. The implications for policy and further research are discussed.


Awarding institution: Manchester Metropolitan University

Number of pages: 91

By continuing to visit our site, you accept the use of cookies. We use cookies for website functionality
and analyzing site usage through anonymized Google Analytics tracking. [Read more]