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Heroines of enterprise: post-recession media representations of women and entrepreneurship in a UK newspaper 2008-2016.

Jones, Sally and Nadin, Sara and Smith, Robert (2020) Heroines of enterprise: post-recession media representations of women and entrepreneurship in a UK newspaper 2008-2016. International Small Business Journal. ISSN 0264-6560

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Abstract

This article analyses contemporary media representations of female-entrepreneurs in the daily UK broadsheet ‘The Times’. Whilst existing research shows how the media ignores or trivialises women’s entrepreneurship, our focus is on the emergence of the successful female-entrepreneur, an increasingly prominent, heroic media genre. We suggest that this is one response to the recession of 2008 and the broader neoliberal context in which women are positioned as central to economic recovery. We interrogate this recent expression of entrepreneurial femininity, adopting a critical perspective on postfeminism to reveal the values and ideals associated with this privileged form. We argue that this version of entrepreneurial femininity is the female equivalent of the mythologised male hero – accomplished, hard-working and successful at work and home. Implications are explored in terms of the expectations associated with entrepreneurship done by women, and the extent to which these challenge gendered norms; whom this ‘privileges’; who this excludes; and the negative impact such hegemonic femininities have on recognising and supporting ‘alternative’ / heterogeneous forms of entrepreneurship done by both women and men.

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