Female entrepreneurs with ‘male-only’ business attributes? | woman at work

Female entrepreneurs with ‘male-only’ business attributes?

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In theory, the world of entrepreneurship should be gender-blind. Start-up businesses are judged on whether they survive or die, and you might have thought that the same stark definition was applied to entrepreneurs themselves. But the discussion around how business people operate in this bruising arena has struggled to detach itself from broader stereotyping around sex – and it is starting to wear thin.

In popular thinking around entrepreneurship, in the press and in research, certain attributes are presented as “male-only”. These traits associated with building a business include self esteem, risk taking, autonomous decision making, over confidence, the need for control, resilience, and ego. Put all that together and you have a familiar archetype … of a male entrepreneur.

The trouble is that female entrepreneurship is most commonly described in opposition to these traits. And so a woman who starts a business is expected to show an affinity for collaborative decision making, a focus on service and an aversion to risk. The reliance on this stereotyping does not reflect the reality, and reinforces false ideas about what it takes to start and grow a business.

The truth is that female entrepreneurs strongly identify with so-called “male only” attributes. They use these traits to maximise business opportunities in the same way men do. To properly reflect that, it’s down to anyone involved with the entrepreneurial world to proactively change the labels and recalibrate the discussion.

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Source : weforum.org

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