Two Sets of Business Cards: Responses of Chinese Immigrant Women Entrepreneurs in Canada and Australia to Sexism and Racism

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Frances Chiang
Angeline Low
Jock Collins


Existing entrepreneurial discourses have been dominated by white middle-class androcentric approach, giving little space to the discussions of racism and sexism experienced by minority women entrepreneurs. This paper aims to fill this gap through an examination of the experiences of Asian immigrant women entrepreneurs in Canada and Australia using an intersectional approach. The key research question addressed in the paper is to what extent, and in what ways, do racism and sexism impact on the entrepreneurial experiences of Asian immigrant women entrepreneurs and what strategies do they use in managing discrimination to protect themselves and their businesses? Four main strategies were derived from our findings, namely, creating a comfortable niche, playing the mainstream card, swallowing the pain, and resisting.

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Articles (refereed)
Author Biographies

Frances Chiang, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Dr. Frances Chiang is a faculty member of the Sociology Department at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, and has taught in the areas of work and occupations, race and ethnicity, social stratification, sociological theories, and health and illness. Her current research focuses on Chinese immigrant women entrepreneurship; race, gender, and class; and the Chinese Diaspora. She is the co-author of “Love as a Hidden Gender Resource in Chinese Immigrant Women’s Entrepreneurship: Case Studies from Australia and Canada” (2010) and the co-editor of From Colonization to Globalization: The Intellectual and Political legacies of Kwame Nkrumah and Africa’s Future (forthcoming).

Angeline Low, University of Technology Sydney

Dr Angeline Low is a Research Affiliate of the Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Research Centre at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). She was an awardee of the Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at UTS. Her research interests are in entrepreneurship studies, focusing on immigrants and women entrepreneurs. At various times, she was a consultant to the ILO, OECD and the European Union on women's entrepreneurship, and the integration of migrant women in the economy. She was an expert adviser to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Australian study. Besides academic research, Low has had varied careers in senior management and private business. Low was the first woman in Malaysia to be admitted into partnership with Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, one of the world’s largest professional services firms. She contributes actively on government committees and boards of directors of international not-for-profit organisations.

Jock Collins, University of Technology Sydney

Jock Collins is Professor of Social Economics in the Management Discipline Group at theSchool of Business School, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia. He has been teaching and conducting research at UTS since 1977. He is Co-Director of the Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Research Centre at UTS. His research interests centre on an interdisciplinary study of immigration and cultural diversity in the economy and society. His recent research has been on Australian immigration, ethnic crime, immigrant and Indigenous entrepreneurship, immigrant youth, ethnic precincts and tourism, multiculturalism, the Cronulla Beach Riots, global teachers, immigrants and the built environment and immigrants in regional and rural Australia and the social use of ethnic heritage and the built environment. He is the author or co-author of ten books, the most recent of which is Global Teachers, Australian Perspectives: Goodbye Mr. Chips Hello Ms. Banerjee (with Carol Reid and Michael Singh) to be published by Springer Press later this year. He is also the author of over 100 articles in international and national academic journals and book chapters. His work has been translated in Swedish, French, Japanese, Arabic, Dutch, Chinese, Portuguese, German, Turkish and Italian. Jock Collins has had visiting academic appointments in the UK, Canada, Sweden and the United States and has consulted to the ILO and OECD.