Gender stereotypes could push women away from entrepreneurship

March 17th, 2011 - 5:22 pm ICT by ANI  

Oprah Winfrey Washington, March 17 (ANI): An Indian origin Binghamton University scientist has found that gender stereotypes could discourage women from starting their own businesses.

Vishal Gupta, an assistant professor of strategy, believes the way that entrepreneurship is presented, discussed and taught must change - especially for women.

“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 said.

Of course, there have been many high-profile female entrepreneurs over the past half-century. The accomplishments of Oprah Winfrey, Estee Lauder and Debbi Fields are easily as impressive as those of Gates, Jobs, Richard Branson and Vidal Sassoon.

But the failure to highlight the work of female entrepreneurs is exacerbated by societal stereotypes that often link entrepreneurship to masculine characteristics.

Gupta and colleagues determined that both men and women assimilated to the subtle reminders about social beliefs and entrepreneurship. When men and women were told that entrepreneurship is about male characteristics, men were more interested in becoming entrepreneurs.

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.

“When we presented the feminine information, nothing happened. Why? Because it is not consistent with what students are seeing and hearing in society about entrepreneurs,” said Gupta. (ANI)

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