Women Entrepreneurs in Finnish ICT Industry
Tarja Pietilainen (Life Works Consulting Ltd., Finland), Hanna Lehtimaki (Life Works Consulting Ltd. & University of Tampere, Finland) and Heidi Keso (Life Works Consulting Ltd. & University of Tampere, Finland)
Copyright: © 2006
The Nordic countries—Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden—offer interesting material to investigate gendering processes. In these societies, gender equality policy has long traditions and many propagated goals have been researched: women and men participate in paid work almost to the same extent; women make a significant contribution to family income, because it rests on a dual income model; public, low cost day-care is available to all children over one year of age; women’s level of education is exceeding that of men’s. Yet, the labour market is notoriously segregated both horizontally, meaning that men and women work in different occupations, and vertically meaning that men hold high ranking positions in public and private organisations. The focal phenomenon of this article, entrepreneurship shows even more profound segregation with women and men enterprising in different lines of business and within the same lines of business in different branches (Kovalainen, 1995; Spilling & Berg, 2000). Nordic experience shows that gaining access to men-only spaces does not bring the same prestige, make women equally influential, and powerful as men. Thus, the question remains what are the processes which hinder women entrepreneurs from achieving a significant position? The article offers one possible answer by reporting a study by Pietiläinen (2002) who set out to investigate what kinds of spaces for entrepreneurial action women business owners are offered in the Finnish information and communication technology (ICT) industry.