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Women and Entrepreneurship at Zhejiang University

I met with these young women, all doctoral students studying women’s entrepreneurship at Zhejiang University, while in Hangzhou to observe the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Initiative. We had an interesting conversation about the inadequacy of current theory—either about entrepreneurship or

feminist theory—to analyze the interaction of gender and enterprise. I mentioned that a new article that Catherine Dolan, Mary Johnstone-Louis, Kim Sugden, Maryalice Wu, and I have in process attempts to address this theoretical impasse with pragmatist feminism, an adaptation of American pragmatism and feminism emerging from the mid 1990s. The basic problem is that the feminist viewpoints of the last quarter of the 20th century were unfriendly to enterprise as a basic premise. The students and I discussed the possibility that women building their own businesses, as well as research about the gender barriers they face, could assist the cause of women in the 21st century. I was also very pleased to be hosted by the eminent leader of the entrepreneurship center at Zhejiang, Professor Wang Zhong-Ming and his colleagues.

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