Spin-off corporations, 27th-29th July.

At a micro level, the organization of familial responsibilities has an effect on men and women’s professional careers , as such organization is translated in a greater or lesser time availability. And generally speaking, the greater the availability, the greater the dedication to professional life. In university particularly, time can imply a widening in the structure of opportunities for researchers, a structure which will be more advantageous for those people with a greater dedication.

On the other hand, the institutional factor is key for entrepreneurship, whether it is because of the support provided by the research group, the department or other university structures such as transfer and innovation office or similar. However, we can observe that this kind of support has a minor occurrence compared to that of the family. However, in the interviews, the institution of university shows mainly as an institution which guarantees equality in the access to opportunities, in the so-called formalist discourse. Institutional support is interpreted as something alien to gender. Furthermore,the revealing discourse focus on the existence of extraprofessional factors having an impact on entrepreneurship and professional careers of women researchers, although it does not consist of a criticism towards power structures inserted in universities either, that is, it does no link the existence of inherent factors with the result of the gap between men and women’s presence in research teams, management bodies and decision-making positions.

There is a stark contrast between gender neutral discourse and gender sensitive discourse that shows in the interviews to men and women researchers, be it entrepreneurs or not. Both discourses have a counterpart in the formalist discourse and the revealing discourse by the OTRI management respectively. The first one focuses on merit and individual trajectory built through effort, interest, drive and commitment. It is a discourse in which gender roles distribution would not be a conditioning factor for entrepreneurship. The second one, as opposed to the former discourse, family responsibilities and reproductive work in general appear as crucial when it comes to setting up the structure of opportunities, not only those related to research but also the ones related to entrepreneurship itself.

Furthermore, there are certain features in companies with a female management, such as the adoption of more conservative company strategies and more modest goals, against their male counterparts, that could have to do with a fear to taking risks and the need to keep being in control of working time as a distinct feature of female entrepreneurship, which boils down to the compatibilization of family and professional life, a factor which is not so influential for men in the same situation.

 

 

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