Företagande kvinnor i bruksort : arbetsliv och vardagsliv i samspel

Sammanfattning: The Bergslagen region in Sweden has a history of iron and steel production, and in the small industrial towns in the region, one large employer has often held a strong position. Although the region has gone through structural change since the 1970’s, in previous research, becoming self-employed is perceived of as difficult, since it implies going against a strong working culture. The image of Bergslagen is that of a non-entrepreneurial region. Furthermore, in previous research, the gender contract in the region is characterized as traditional. In this thesis light is shed on women in the region who are self-employed. Topics that are focused on are work experience, role models, family situation and networks. The study builds on qualitative interviews and longitudinal registry based statistics (1993-2003). The interviews were carried out in the municipalities of Norberg and Fagersta with self-employed women in the fields of health and business services. Conclusions drawn concern both the region Bergslagen as an entrepreneurial region and the lives of self-employed women. The situations and conditions under which women become and remain self-employed displays a complex interaction between different areas of life, both in relation to the start-up phase and the subsequent running of their businesses. The idea of the region as non-entrepreneurial is scrutinized. For one, the share of self-employed in the Bergslagen municipalities only differs among men, compared to the national average. The share of self-employed women in the region, however, is similar to the national average. Furthermore, the share of self-employed men and women varies among the municipalities within the region. Thus, it is problematic to speak of the region as non-entrepreneurial and as homogenous when it comes to self-employment and entrepreneurship. These findings indicate that the idea of the region as non-entrepreneurial is an expression of both the region being male coded and women entrepreneurs being subordinated.