Gender, Work-Family Linkages, and Economic Success among Small Business Owners
This study investigates work-family connections and economic success among women and men small business owners. We use what we term gender similarity and gender difference models to frame this investigation. The first model emphasizes the similarities between women and men in the processes through which work outcomes are determined. In contrast, the gender difference model assumes deeply rooted institutional and individual bases of gender difference. Analyses of data from a 3-year panel survey of 99 women and 312 men owners show more support for the gender similarity than the gender difference model. There is considerable gender similarity in the processes through which business and individual characteristics affect personal earnings, although women owners are disadvantaged in some characteristics critical to business success. Family situation has a direct impact on these owners' business success and indirectly affects personal earnings. We uncover vestiges of traditional gender roles consistent with the gender difference model, but primarily in the context of marriage. Thus, children are experienced as an incentive to fulfill the good provider role not only among married men but also by single women. The event history analyses show that these effects persist over time.