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Women in Social Enterprise

There is a review of a book on women in social enterprises in the latest edition of the excellent periodical Stanford Social Innovation Review called “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.”

This book highlights the harrowing stories of women who have turned adversity into opportunity for themselves and other women. The book highlights the author’s view of the solutions to the human rights violations described, one being access to (investment in) education, which is something that the Ryan Academy and Dublin City University are also strong believers in.

The other solution identified is that of microfinance, which is interesting as Grameen Bank, the originators of microfinance on an organised and large scale, loan mostly to women. In fact from a cursory look at the social entrepreneurship field it seems to have more women leading social enterprises than in the ‘normal’ world of for-profit start-ups.

Is this really the case and if so is there a reason why women are more involved in social enterprises than men, or is it just that the percentage is higher relative to the commercial sector? Although the glass ceilings in many sectors have been slow to be breached, can the social sector lead the way by showing the high level of entrepreneurship, innovation and leadership by women that other sectors have been lagging?

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