Women Entrepreneurs and Italian Industrialization: Conjectures and Avenues for Research

This article examines the “state of the art” and the current debates on the subject of women entrepreneurs, presenting some preliminary observations and hypotheses regarding the role of business-women in Italian economic development. Reasons for the new historiographic interest in female entrepreneurship are identified, and the primary methodological difficulties encountered in its historical study—starting with establishing the definition and the statistical parameters of the woman entrepreneur and discussing her social and juridical “invisibility”—are summarized. Finally, suggestions are made about possible directions for research on key historical trends important in shaping female entrepreneurial abilities in the Italian context.