Even as women increase their participation in the labor force, they continue to work in a limited number of labor force sectors. This affects women’s entrepreneurship development since the sectors where women start their businesses mirror the industry segregation patterns of female workers. In addition, sectors where women’s businesses are most prevalent are often at a disadvantage since they tend to be highly competitive, labor-intensive, and offer low growth potential. In this chapter, we introduce a comparative and quantitative measure for assessing labor force balance as a tool for understanding gendered patterns in employment and entrepreneurship. We use this tool to explore the extent of occupational crowding for a 60-country sample. Our results indicate a wide variation amongst countries that cannot be explained by level of economic development or varying numbers of active labor force sectors. However, in countries with high levels of occupational crowding, adherence to gendered occupational stereotypes help maintain male-dominated and female-dominated sectors. Measures currently being taken by countries to remove the outdated and harmful macho cultures are highlighted not only for their positive impact on women in the labor force but also for women’s entrepreneurship development.
Women have been innovating alongside men, yet their innovations have largely remained overlooked or discounted, often because the innovation has been less disruptive or has focused on female-dominated activities such as services and household production. But historically, even when innovative activity by women has been disruptive, it has often gone unnoticed. This chapter takes a closer look at three highly successful innovative female entrepreneurs in Latin America. The chapter analyses the case of Leila Velez in Brazil, co-founder and CEO of Beleza Natural, an innovative beauty institute chain. It analyses the case of Maria Claudia Mendez in Bolivia, founder of Origenes Bolivia, which specializes in creating upmarket fashion and household accessories made from alpaca and other natural fibres. It also analyses the case of Carolina Guerra in Colombia, co-founder of Ingerecuperar, a hazardous waste treatment and recycling company. By exploring their business developments, the chapter uncovers some of the gendered impediments that exist for innovative women in the Latin American context. Some of the examples are universal, while others are clearly linked to the specificities of the Latin American environment.