Document Type


Publication Date



The French economy has been criticized for a lack of integration of women in business and for the prevalence of inefficient family firms. A sample drawn from patent and exhibition records is used to examine the role of women in enterprise and invention in France. Middle-class women were extensively engaged in entrepreneurship and innovation, and the empirical analysis indicates that their commercial efforts were significantly enhanced by association with family firms. Such formerly invisible achievements suggest a more productive role for family-based enterprises, as a means of incorporating relatively disadvantaged groups into the market economy as managers and entrepreneurs. This business model .... melds entrepreneurial passion with a long family tradition. - Wendel Company (1704-2014) 1