Entrepreneurship is a gendered field. Despite years of special programs to help female entrepreneurs, they still face many challenges and limitations as entrepreneurship is perceived as a male-dominated field. A qualitative study of eleven growth-oriented female entrepreneurs was conducted. How do they face gender stereotypes as business owners? Do they internalize masculine norms and consequently experience stereotype threat and impostor syndrome, or do they succeed in performing as successful women entrepreneurs? The results show that even the most experienced growth-oriented female entrepreneurs cannot escape the influence of the prevailing masculine norms. This study explores the repercussions of gender norms and stereotypes in female entrepreneurship and gives advice to help female entrepreneurs overcome them.
The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) indicates that women entrepreneurs create, run and grow businesses across all sectors. They make important contributions to innovation, employment, and wealth creation in all economies. However, women still face a significant number of difficulties and obstacles in establishing and running businesses. As a result, women create fewer businesses and their ventures underperform as they remain smaller in terms of revenue, job creation, and size relative to those of men.
Some scholars argue that these difficulties could be related to how entrepreneurship is perceived. The definition of an entrepreneur has long been defined based on masculine characteristics, such as ambitious, aggressive, risk-taking, and natural-born leader. As this male stereotype persists in entrepreneurship, women tend to assign more weight to masculine traits when defining a successful entrepreneur, describing he or she as competitive, active, independent, decisive, and self-confident. However, women have long been defined as affectionate, understanding, warm, and compassionate. This juxtaposition of male and female stereotypes leads to an incongruence of what it means to be a successful female entrepreneur. When women entrepreneurs define themselves like other women, they risk experiencing imposture syndrome and stereotype threats because they consciously or unconsciously try to cope with the prevailing masculine norms in entrepreneurship.
Studies have found that women turn to entrepreneurship notably to create a better work and family balance, but this is not their only motivation for venture creation…
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