Spaces of Innovation and Women Rural Entrepreneurship in Italy

This paper deals with “gendering innovation”, with the purpose of exploring the entrepreneurial spaces of innovation among Italian farms managed by women. More precisely, the hypothesis is that entrepre-neurial orientation has to be considered the engine of innovation adoption in different rural contexts, by creating new spaces for innovation. The research is grounded on primary sources using a questionnaire administered to a sample of women farmers in all regions of Italy, with the purpose of investigating complex dimensions behind the decision of innovation uptake, with a special focus on the relevance of entrepreneurial orientation. Empirical analysis lets different “worlds of female innovation” to emerge, which are grounded on both conventional and alternative agrifood networks. Taking on the perspective of entrepreneurial spaces of innovation implies to design a diversified set of policy action with the purpose of affecting these entrepreneurial spaces. This is particularly urgent in the perspective of gender main-streaming of rural development policies of the European Union.