Female entrepreneurship is a growing segment in the context of developing countries and has the potential to become a driving force for economic development. However, research suggests that females are less inclined toward entrepreneurship when compared to their male counterparts. This fact is related to a complex mix of causes such as the belief that entrepreneurship is a male domain, certain conditions within the economic and social environment and a general lack of confidence with regards to succeeding in such activities. Barriers to female entrepreneurship are prevalent in the patriarchal Arab world. The purpose of this paper is to measure the perceptions of female Jordanian business students with regards to the socio-cultural barriers to entrepreneurship. It also looks at the conduciveness of the education they are receiving in terms of new venture creation.
A sample of 254 female business students from two universities in Jordan was asked to evaluate various factors within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, including the business education they are currently receiving. A factor analysis has been performed to show which relevant elements may prevent young women from engaging with entrepreneurial activities. A comparison of perceptions about the educational system has also been presented to understand how a supportive educational environment may affect the previous analysis.
The results indicated that a strong supportive education system to some extent may reduce the perception of potential barriers for entrepreneurship but the overall impact can be limited. Conversely, an educational system lacking a supportive environment and concrete initiatives can deeply affect and worsen the fears of engaging in entrepreneurship amongst female students.
The role of women in the Arab world is quite marked and the reluctance of women to take a more decisive engagement in entrepreneurship may be reinforced by conservative, societal traditions. A supportive education system has the potential to act as a catalyst to encourage active female participation in the entrepreneurial domain, thus helping to spur economic development in the region.
Earlier versions of this research were presented at the MAC-EMMT 2014 Conference in the Czech Republic, ICERI 2014 Conference in Thailand, and GIKA 2016 Conference in Valencia. The authors would like to thank the conference reviewers, participants, and organizers for the useful comments that have helped to further develop this paper.
Mehtap, S., Pellegrini, M., Caputo, A. and Welsh, D. (2017), "Entrepreneurial intentions of young women in the Arab world: Socio-cultural and educational barriers", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 23 No. 6, pp. 880-902. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEBR-07-2017-0214Download as .RIS
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