Research Handbook on Gender and Innovation
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Research Handbook on Gender and Innovation

Edited by Gry A. Alsos, Ulla Hytti and Elisabet Ljunggren

Innovation is seen as one of the main engines of economic growth creating prosperous nations and enabling technological development within industries and sectors This Handbook contributes to the field of innovation by providing a wide range of studies from different analytical and methodological perspectives and from various regional and industry contexts in order to pave the way forward. The multidisciplinary contributors discuss topics such as gender and innovation in new and small businesses, and growth businesses; addressing innovation in different organizational contexts ranging from public sector health care to mining and forestry; researching gender in innovation policy.
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Chapter 6: Gendered understandings of innovation in nursing and entrepreneurship: an exploratory study in the Portuguese context

Selma Martins, Emília Fernandes and Regina Leite


Nowadays, innovation is being associated with the service sector. Such a trend leads the authors of this chapter to question how gendered discourses are used to define innovation by a group of entrepreneurs in nursing care. These two practices are constituted by different gender meanings: nursing is considered to have a feminine nature and to be almost exclusively a female-dominated occupation; entrepreneurship is considered a masculine practice and is traditionally associated with men. Based on the content analysis of interviews with nurse-entrepreneurs, the chapter demonstrates how innovation can be inscribed in feminine meanings such as ‘caring’ and ‘nurturing’, and related to new ways of ‘service delivery’. However, these new conceptions of innovation are presented as gender-neutral. The chapter reflects upon how such an understanding of innovation can contribute to challenging or reproducing gender inequality.

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