Gender bias pushes women away from entrepreneurship

Gender bias pushes women away from entrepreneurship

Of course, there have been many high-profile female entrepreneurs over the past half-century, namely Oprah Winfrey, Estée Lauder and Debbi Fields. But the failure to highlight the work of female entrepreneurs is exacerbated by societal stereotypes that often link entrepreneurship to masculine characteristics.

Vishal Gupta, assistant professor of strategy at Binghamton University in the US, believes the way that entrepreneurship is presented, discussed and taught must change -- especially for women, according to a Binghamton statement.

"Pick up any book on entrepreneurship: It's all about men. Switch on the TV, and when it comes to entrepreneurs, it is Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Where are the women entrepreneurs? They're not being talked about," he says.

Accordingly, Daniel Turban and Nachiket Bhawe, from the Universities of Missouri and Minnesota, respectively, and Gupta distributed articles about entrepreneurs to more than 465 undergraduate students, divided into random groups.

"What we did was bring in the random-experiment approach, which is popular in fields like biology, medicine and agriculture...They take the guesswork from your analysis." They found that women were less interested in entrepreneurship, which shows the power of societal beliefs. As Gupta points out, when we are subconsciously exposed to them, it can affect the way we think.

Women also showed little ambition for entrepreneurism after reading the female-stereotype article.