A Web of opportunity or the same old story? Women digital entrepreneurs and intersectionality theory

Angela Martinez-Dy, Susan Marlow, Lee Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)
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This article critically analyses the manner in which intersectionality and related social positionality shape digital enterprise activities. Despite popular claims of meritocratic opportunity enactment within traditional forms of entrepreneurship, ascribed social characteristics intersect to influence the realization of entrepreneurial potential. However, it is purported that the emerging field of digital entrepreneurship may act as a ‘great leveller’ owing to perceived lower barriers to entry, disembodiment of the entrepreneurial actor and the absence of visible markers of disadvantage online. Using an interpretivist approach, we analyse empirical evidence that reveals how the privileges and disadvantages arising from intersecting social positions of gender, race and class status are experienced by UK women digital entrepreneurs. This analysis challenges the notion that the internet is a neutral platform for entrepreneurship and supports our thesis that offline inequality, in the form of marked bodies, social positionality and associated resource constraints, is produced and reproduced in the online environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-311
Number of pages26
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number3
Early online date10 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • digital
  • digital enterprise
  • entrepreneurship
  • gender
  • internet
  • intersectionality
  • online business
  • online entrepreneurship
  • whitewashing
  • women


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