Can we break up gender stereotypes in male-dominated startups?

Mind the gap: The role of gender in entrepreneurial career choice and social influence by founders

Vera Rocha & Mirjam van Praag
Copenhagen Business School | Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Women are less likely to be entrepreneurs than men. We investigate whether working in a startup founded by a woman instead of a man influences individuals' decision to become an entrepreneur later. We find this to be the case for women. This result is best explained by female founders acting as role models for their female employees in male-dominated domains. Female founders able to break gender stereotypes seem to have an influence on the career choices of their female employees, especially among those who have lacked contact with entrepreneurs. Moreover, this influence is stronger if the female founder and employee have similar backgrounds. These findings confirm the importance of social interactions at work and suggest new ways to inspire more women to launch startups.

Rocha, V., & van Praag, M. (2020). Mind the gap: The role of gender in entrepreneurial career choice and social influence by founders. Strategic Management Journal, 41(5), 841-866.


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