By Candida Brush
Every research effort has a good background story, and here is ours. Last year, we attended the June 2019 Diana International Research Conference at Babson College, Wellesley, Mass. The Diana Conference brings together researchers studying women’s entrepreneurship from more than 60 countries and is it considered to be the premier international research conference on women’s entrepreneurship. The theme of the 2019 Conference was Gender and Innovation, which stimulated and ignited exciting conversations around gender, innovation, and women’s entrepreneurship. As we are all researchers, we did some inquiring and found that much of the research on women’s entrepreneurship compares businesses led by men and women entrepreneurs, whilst other research examines gender issues across individual entrepreneurs. At the same time, we realized that studies of innovation tend to focus on industries such as high tech, which are male-dominated and embody a masculine perspective. In other words, what we know about innovation focuses on where the innovation happens, and the research is conducted through a masculine lens. We wondered whether women faced different obstacles in attracting resources for innovation and whether gender might shape the formation and the management of innovative organizations.
Because women entrepreneurs are a significant force in economic development, we determined that a better understanding of the ways in which gender, entrepreneurship, and innovation intersect would suggest meaningful implications for policy, practice, and education. In one of these conversations, someone suggested, “wouldn’t it be great to have a special issue on innovation and women’s entrepreneurship”?
The actors in the story are an international team of multi-disciplinary female scholars in entrepreneurship – namely Professor Candida Brush, (Babson College), Professor Kimberly Eddleston (Northeastern University), Professor Linda Edelman (Bentley University), Professor Tatiana Manolova, (Bentley University), Professor Maura McAdam (Dublin City University) and Professor Cristina Rossi-Lamastra, (Politecnico di Milano School of Management). All are internationally recognised experts in entrepreneurship and all share a curiosity and passion for “pushing the envelope” in women’s entrepreneurship research.
We, therefore, encourage the submission of papers to the special issue that advance conceptual and empirical understanding of women’s entrepreneurship as a catalyst for innovation. We welcome papers that broadly fit with the overarching theme of women entrepreneurs, gender, and innovation. We are particularly interested in contributions that explore the influence of innovation and change on women’s entrepreneurship as well as the ways that women launch, grow, and lead innovative new ventures and organizations (in the context of both developing and developed countries). Additionally, we welcome studies that investigate innovative responses by women entrepreneurs to the current COVID-19 emergency.