, Volume 115, Issue 2, pp 953–987 | Cite as

A look back over the past 40 years of female entrepreneurship: mapping knowledge networks

  • Gina Santos
  • Carla Susana Marques
  • João J. Ferreira


This study sought to explore the existing academic literature on female entrepreneurship to assess how this field of research is organized in terms of publications, authors, and periodicals and/or sources. In addition, the research focused on mapping knowledge networks through citation and co-citation analysis and identifying natural clusters of the main keywords used. The study also examined the challenges (i.e., opportunities and difficulties) the literature reveals for the study of female entrepreneurship. That is, the knowledge gained from the bibliometric study (i.e., what has already been researched and the limits of these studies) was used to identify what research opportunities are present in this area. The articles gathered in the search were submitted to a bibliometric analysis using VOSviewer and TreeCloud software. The results obtained from the analysis of document citations reveal three clusters: (1) entrepreneurial profile, (2) gender identity and theoretical conceptualizations, and (3) the entrepreneurial process context. By studying the articles’ citation profile, this study’s findings contribute to a better understanding of the flow of production and research-related practices in this stimulating area of research, which is still in its infancy phase.


Female entrepreneurship Entrepreneurial profile Gender identity Theoretical conceptualizations Entrepreneurial process context Bibliometric study 


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© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CETRAD Research CentreUniversity of Trás-os-Montes e Alto DouroVila RealPortugal
  2. 2.NECE Research CentreUniversity of Beira InteriorCovilhãPortugal

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