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Boss LadyHow Three Women Entrepreneurs Built Successful Big Businesses in the Mid-Twentieth Century$
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Edith Sparks

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469633022

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469633022.001.0001

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Constructing Entrepreneurial Pathways

Constructing Entrepreneurial Pathways

(p.11) 1 Constructing Entrepreneurial Pathways
Boss Lady

Edith Sparks

University of North Carolina Press

Tillie Lewis, Olive Ann Beech and Margaret Rudkin all provide examples of how successful mid-twentieth-century female entrepreneurs in large-scale manufacturing companies carved out a place for themselves at the top of the American business world by leveraging their relationships with the men in their personal and professional lives. The goal here is to understand the way in which this generation of women hampered by marriage bars, professionally crippling domestic expectations and lack of access to higher education, made the most of their relationships with male family members to plot their paths into business leadership and ownership. Access to social capital was particularly key for women breaking into the male-dominated manufacturing fields Lewis, Beech and Rudkin occupied, and male family members provided that connection. Privilege paved the way toward entrepreneurship and leadership for all three women too—another corollary of the ties they forged and leveraged through marriage.

Keywords:   Social capital, Expert capital, Networks, Pull, Entrepreneurial pathway, Family business

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