SOTA Review

Family policy and women’s entrepreneurship

ERC SOTA review No 56

Associated Themes
  • Business Growth
  • Diversity
  • Productivity and performance

This review summarises the current state of knowledge about the relationship between family policy and women’s entrepreneurship and is based upon a search of recent research studies and academic literature. It includes accounts of multi-nation comparative studies of large national and international datasets, as well as knowledge arising from qualitative single-country studies. The headline conclusions are that more supportive family policy regimes do not necessarily lead to an increase in women’s share of business ownership, indeed the opposite can be true. However, more supportive family policy regimes are likely to lead to a greater proportion of women’s businesses being profitable and sustainable, as those businesses are started through choice rather than necessity. Crucially socio-cultural and institutional context is key in family policy outcomes. Women’s entrepreneurship policy needs to be interwoven with family policy to successfully support women to start and run prosperous businesses.