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Exploring the gendered entrepreneurial identity gap: implications for entrepreneurship education

Catherine Elliott (Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada)
Janet Mantler (Department of Psychology, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada)
Joie Huggins (Department of Psychology, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada)

International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship

ISSN: 1756-6266

Article publication date: 19 May 2021

Issue publication date: 21 June 2021

830

Abstract

Purpose

Women are underrepresented in most university entrepreneurship education (EE) programmes and less likely than men to pursue business venturing as a career. One reason may be the “entrepreneurial identity gap”, whereby female students do not see themselves as successful entrepreneurs. This paper aims to explore the nature of this identity gap and its relationship to entrepreneurial intent and entrepreneurship education.

Design/methodology/approach

A set of contemporary, gender-inclusive entrepreneurial attributes was developed using entrepreneurial subject matter experts and tested with 591 university students to explore the nature of the gendered entrepreneurial identity gap.

Findings

While masculine stereotypes persist and the entrepreneurial identity gap is larger for female students, results suggest that a more gender-inclusive vocabulary of entrepreneurship is emerging among the student population and an androgynous perception of the idealized entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship education had a positive influence on entrepreneurial intent.

Research limitations/implications

Study findings advance the conversation about entrepreneurial identity, the nature of the gendered identity gap and the role of education in closing that gap. The questionnaire and set of gender-inclusive attributes should continue to be tested beyond student samples.

Practical implications

Based on this study, entrepreneurship education could benefit from more gender-inclusive instructional practices and vocabulary and a broadened definition of what it means to be entrepreneurial. More students – both men and women – will see themselves as entrepreneurs and be inspired to participate in the innovation economy.

Originality/value

This study takes a novel approach to the study of entrepreneurial identity, developing a new set of attributes and contemporary vocabulary around business venturing.

Keywords

Citation

Elliott, C., Mantler, J. and Huggins, J. (2021), "Exploring the gendered entrepreneurial identity gap: implications for entrepreneurship education", International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 50-74. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJGE-04-2020-0048

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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