This paper analyses different aspects of the female experience in facing gender stereotypes that women entrepreneurs encountered during their entrepreneurial pathways. Entrepreneurship has been historically considered a “man’s” domain and in mainstream literature entrepreneurs have traditionally been described with typical masculine qualities. Therefore, when women engage themselves in an entrepreneurial activity, they have to face potential inconsistencies, conflicts and contradictions between their being women and becoming a "credible" entrepreneur, two figures both deeply affected by gender stereotypes. Several scholars have tried to understand how women entrepreneurs face gender stereotypes managing conflicts between femininity and entrepreneurship. In the last few years, this field of research has been rapidly evolving, with regard to both women business founders and women involved in family businesses succession, mainly adopting a comparative approach and often-describing women as victims of the male rules. More recently, some authors proposed to overcome this approach. They maintain that female entrepreneurial experiences are very different from one another and only considering the different ways in which women live their entrepreneurial path we can really understand female entrepreneurship. The aim of this paper is contributing to the contemporary debates in gender and entrepreneurship, investigating strategies adopted by women in order to face gender stereotypes encountered in their entrepreneurial identity construction. Based on a multiple case study research and using narrative analysis, findings suggest that women may adopt six different strategies characterized by diverse approaches toward stereotypes and a different balance of femininity and masculinity. These strategies were influenced by assuming different role models in constructing their own entrepreneurial identity and also the initial business settings seem to play an important role. In particular, women successors–who typically succeed to their father who often represents a strong role-model–mainly suffer gender stereotypes and seem to be less favoured in overcoming them. In this perspective, the paper also contributes to the family business literature by analysing strategies adopted by daughters to face gender stereotypes as an important issue to deeply understand succession processes.

Women entrepreneurs and gender stereotypes

Sentuti, Annalisa
;
Cesaroni, Francesca Maria
;
Pediconi, Maria Gabriella
2018-01-01

Abstract

This paper analyses different aspects of the female experience in facing gender stereotypes that women entrepreneurs encountered during their entrepreneurial pathways. Entrepreneurship has been historically considered a “man’s” domain and in mainstream literature entrepreneurs have traditionally been described with typical masculine qualities. Therefore, when women engage themselves in an entrepreneurial activity, they have to face potential inconsistencies, conflicts and contradictions between their being women and becoming a "credible" entrepreneur, two figures both deeply affected by gender stereotypes. Several scholars have tried to understand how women entrepreneurs face gender stereotypes managing conflicts between femininity and entrepreneurship. In the last few years, this field of research has been rapidly evolving, with regard to both women business founders and women involved in family businesses succession, mainly adopting a comparative approach and often-describing women as victims of the male rules. More recently, some authors proposed to overcome this approach. They maintain that female entrepreneurial experiences are very different from one another and only considering the different ways in which women live their entrepreneurial path we can really understand female entrepreneurship. The aim of this paper is contributing to the contemporary debates in gender and entrepreneurship, investigating strategies adopted by women in order to face gender stereotypes encountered in their entrepreneurial identity construction. Based on a multiple case study research and using narrative analysis, findings suggest that women may adopt six different strategies characterized by diverse approaches toward stereotypes and a different balance of femininity and masculinity. These strategies were influenced by assuming different role models in constructing their own entrepreneurial identity and also the initial business settings seem to play an important role. In particular, women successors–who typically succeed to their father who often represents a strong role-model–mainly suffer gender stereotypes and seem to be less favoured in overcoming them. In this perspective, the paper also contributes to the family business literature by analysing strategies adopted by daughters to face gender stereotypes as an important issue to deeply understand succession processes.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11576/2665153
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