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The strengths of close ties: Taiwanese online entrepreneurship, gender and intersectionality

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This article examines entrepreneurs who have started innovative Internet and mobile technology companies in Taiwan because they are at the forefront of industrial changes in the country. Similar to findings in Europe and the USA, education and careers in technology in Taiwan remain dominated by men. However, I argue that the gender inequality of the sector is partly the result of the fact that small new enterprises rely on family support and close social networks. Few women are able to join the sector with male friends and colleagues due to the close social ties of the founding teams (homophily). Among my female interviewees, half have started their nascent companies with their husbands and male partners (husband and wife teams). However, gender, family backgrounds and childcare responsibilities affect both men and women, and the interviewees in my study were open in discussing these personal factors in relation to being entrepreneurs. This article argues that starting an Internet company is a family decision, discussed within the household. Intersectionality, not only gender, explains the founders’ decision to start a company, and their choice of co-founders.
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Keywords: gender; intersectionality; new media; social capital; social networks; start-up companies

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Asian Studies, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland

Publication date: August 2, 2016

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