LP Research Project Summaries Pt. 2 of 2

Since September 2016 6 duos have been active with their research projects within the Leadership Programme. These projects have been concluded last month. During the coming Network Event: The 2017 Talent Show & 5 Year Jubilee in the art'otel Amsterdam on Thursday June 15th these projects will be presented by the duos and will be judged by a five-headed panel of judges. Through these summaries one can already get acquainted with the finished research. This is Part II of II, with the English research projects. Part I can be found here.

 

Daphny & Jeanette

Daphny Roggeveen and Jeanette van Ooij aimed their research project to research whether or not there exists a gender-based difference in Ghana concerning the use of capital.

“Women [in Ghana] are less likely to obtain loans from private banks and more likely to receive credit from family members, traders, NGOs, and the government”.

Thus, it seems that women, compared to men, are faced with more struggles accessing financial means, which is also called ‘economic capital’. However, they try to compensate by using their network, which is also called ‘social capital’ as a leverage mechanism to receive the same ends as men.

This research aims to test whether or not there is a gender-based difference in Ghana regarding the usage of social- and economic capital. Therefore, the research question of this 3 study is: Do women use different forms of capital than men in Ghana? In order to research this, two particular forms of capital are analysed: economic capital and social capital. It is important to understand the kind of capital used by different groups to reach a certain goal, because this can outline a strategy for both women and men in Ghana. By understanding the operational environment, and by outlining gender differences, both men and women in Ghana can develop strategies based on the results of this research concerning the manner in which to successfully leverage and use resources and capital.

Former research showed that studies on gender-based inequality concerning economic activity in Ghana can serve as an instrument to further improve female access to institutions, business, and societal benefits in general. This research contributes to these objectives as it further investigates societal disadvantages women face in Ghana when it comes to forms of capital, used as a resource leverage mechanism in the pursuit of economic capital. Thus, by outlining potential institutionalized gender-based discrimination, a possible lack of social mobility is displayed, and might subsequently be improved. Gender equality is goal number 5 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, as “women and girls continue to suffer discrimination and violence in every part of the world”. The relevance of this research project can therefore be seen in light of the global effort to reduce gender inequality

 

Christel & Dominique

Female entrepreneurship seems to be a hot topic of discussion these days. Accordingly, current emancipation policies of the Dutch government are framed in terms of female entrepreneurship and economic empowerment.

The research project of Christel van Binsbergen and Dominique Vleeskens provides more insight in how women in the Netherlands experienced their role as entrepreneurs. In order to do so, the authors interviewed three women who just started their own business and three women who have been around in the world of entrepreneurship for a bit longer. The six women were asked about their ambitions, motivations, struggles, experiences and their view on how entrepreneurship might be employed as tool to empower themselves and other women. Also, the study was interested in what the biggest obstacles are for these women to run their business in a world which is still largely dominated by men.The answers of the women were compared to a conceptual framework, which was based on theoretical concepts identified in the existing literature. Firstly, the motivations of women to establish their company were investigated. The results of the interviews showed an overlap with the literature. However, the reason that was described by several authors, the ability to strike a balance between work and family responsibilities, did not appear in the data. Nevertheless, this might be due to the fact that the sample was relatively young and did not include women with children. Even though the motivations varied widely, the majority of the respondents made the decision to start their business out of necessity.

The perception of women with respect to their role as entrepreneur was explored as a second variable. Although it appeared from the data that the women under study were enjoying their role as entrepreneur, they experienced several challenges and difficulties as well. The most important factor here is that women experienced that they have to prove themselves more than their male counterparts. This included, amongst other things, being taken seriously with regard to their competences and their role as entrepreneur. Also, it was found that for some women it is difficult to position themselves in a competitive way. Although for most women an important aspect of entrepreneurship is to take their business to the next level and improve, they generally seemed to be rather modest about their own capabilities and ambitions with their company. The last variable that was examined was women empowerment. A large part of the women explained women empowerment in terms of personal empowerment.

 

Marielle & Lisanne

Marielle Chartier and Lisanne Veter found a shared interested in career drivers of both men and women. Career drivers are motivational factors that influence students’ choices of careers. What drives people is important for both employees and employers as it contributed to employer attractiveness and workplace satisfaction. If potential differences between drivers for men and women are known, it becomes possible for companies and organisations to anticipate and increasingly include women and their talent.

Based on the literature the following hypothesis was developed: H: We expect a difference between men and women in career drivers. Empirical data was collected through surveys. Due to the available time the scope of the study was kept narrow: only students in the end phase of their study could participate. A total of 40 responses was collected (11 men, 29 women). The results imply that men and women at the end phase of their studies are more similar in their career drivers than we expected. Men and woman both highly value social contact, being good at something, norms & values, and independence. On the other hand status and wealth are not much valued by both. The largest difference is in power. Men seem to value this at a shared sixth and sevend place while for women this was very clearly the lowest valued driver. Both men and women find security midrange important. Thus we advise employers to focus on these drivers in their employer branding. Also we advise further research with a larger random sample to be done in this field.

We hope that our study contributes towards better employer branding as well as more equality and we are glad to see that the difference between men and women are not as apparent as thought. We interpret this as an argument to reduce inequality between men and women. There are many ways to fight for this, but we are glad that we get the chance to also strive for this via the leadership programme at TopFem.