Why Women Claim to Be Less Entrepreneurial than Men

  • Roberto Espíritu-Olmos
  • Miguel Angel Sastre-Castillo
Part of the International Studies in Entrepreneurship book series (ISEN, volume 1000)


This chapter analyzes the differences in entrepreneurial intent between males and females, based on a study carried out on 1,210 students from public universities in the Madrid and greater Madrid area (Comunidad Autónoma de Madrid). Entrepreneurial initiative was measured in terms of basic impulses, encompassing feasibility, desirability, personal effort and detection skills when seeking out business opportunities. A comparative study of the profiles used frequently in specialized literature was taken into account in order to explain the differences in intent. These profiles included kindness, the need for achievement, risk, openness, tolerance for ambiguity, inner control and neuroticism. In addition, the Theory of Values by Schwartz was also taken into account prior to the study. Higher order values were considered, such as self-transcendence, conservation, openness to change and self-enhancement, although these values were subsequently discarded since no significant differences by gender could be found. t-Tests were then conducted on two independent samples to determine gender differences in personality profiles and determine influence when it came to expressing an intention to set up their own business. The following results demonstrate valid empirical evidence as to why males reported a higher entrepreneurial tendency rather than females.


Personality Trait Entrepreneurial Activity Business Opportunity Risk Tolerance Woman Entrepreneur 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Almeida Couto P, Borges Tiago MT (2009) Propensity for Entrepreneurship Among University Students. Bus rev 12 (1): 308–316Google Scholar
  2. Baron R A, Markman G D, Hirsa A (2001) Perceptions of women and men as entrepreneurship: Evidence for differential effects of attributional augmenting. J appl psychol 86 (5): 923–939CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baker T, Aldrich H, Liou, N (1997) Invisible entrepreneurs: the neglect of woman bujsiness owners by mass-media and scholarly journals in the USA. Entrep reg dev 9 (3): 221–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cooper A C, Gimeno-Gascon J F, Woo C (1994) Initial human and financial capital as predictors of new venture performance. J bus venturing 9: 371–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cowling M, Taylor M (2001) Entrepreneurial women and men: two different species?. Small bus econ 16 (3): 167–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dabic M, Basic M, Novak I (2010) The Role of Gender Differences on Students’ Entrepreneurial Attitudes: A Cross-Country Comparative Study of Croatia and Poland. Bus rev 15 (1): 97–103Google Scholar
  7. De Bruin A, Brush C G, Welter F (2006) Introduction to the special issue: Towards building cumulative knowledge on women’s entrepreneurship. Entrep theory pract 30 (5): 585CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Entrialgo Suárez M, Fernández Sánchez E, Vázquez Ordás C J (1999) El perfil empresarial y la participación en el capital: un estudio para el empresario español. Rev eur dir econ empresa 8 (3): 81–92Google Scholar
  9. Espíritu Olmos R, Sastre Castillo M A (2007) La actitud emprendedora durante la vida académica de los estudiantes universitarios. Cuad estud empres 17: 95–116Google Scholar
  10. Fagenson E, Marcus E (1991) Perceptions of the sex-role stereotypic characteristics of entrepreneurs: Women’s evaluations. Entrep theory pract 15 (4): 33–48Google Scholar
  11. Ferber M, Nelson J (eds.) (1993) Beyond economic man feminist theory and economics university. Chicago Pres, Chicago IlGoogle Scholar
  12. Forson C, Özbilgin M (2003) Dot-com women entrepreneurs in the UK. Entrep Innov 13–24Google Scholar
  13. Gürol Y, Atsan N (2006) Entrepreneurial characteristics amongst university students: some insights for entrepreneurship education and training in Turkey. Educ train 48 (1): 25–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Harris M L, Gibson, S G (2008) Examining the entrepreneurial attitudes of US business students. Educ train 50 (7): 568–581CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Inman K (1999) Women’s in business start-up: a study of black and white women entrepreneurs. Garland Publishing, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  16. Izyumov A, Razumnova I (2000) Women entrepreneurs in Russia: learning to survive the market. J dev entrep 5 (1): 1–19Google Scholar
  17. Kirkwood J (2009) Motivational factors in a push-pull theory of entrepreneurship. Gend manag 24 (5): 346–364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Koellinger P, Minniti M, Schade C (2006) I think I can, I think I can’: overconfidence and entrepreneurial behaviour. J econ psychol 28: 502–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Koh H C (1996) Testing hypotheses of entrepreneurial characteristics. J manag psychol 11 (3): 12–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Langowitz N, Minniti M (2007) The entrepreneurial propensity of women. Entrep theory pract, 31(3): 341–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Laspita S, Scheiner C W, Chlosta S, Brem A, Voigt K I, Klandt H (2007) Students’ attitude towards entrepreneurship: Does gender matter?. Rev manag comp int 8 (4): 92–118Google Scholar
  22. Lerner M, Pines A M (2010) Gender and culture in family business: a ten- nation study, Int j cross cultural manag, in pressGoogle Scholar
  23. Minniti M, Arenius P, Langowitz N (2004) Global Entrepreneurship Monitor: 2004 Report on Women and Entrepreneurship. The Center for Women’s Leadership at Babson College, Babson Park, MAGoogle Scholar
  24. Mirchandani K (1999) Feminist on gendered work: new direction in research on woman and entrepreneurship. Gend work organ 6 (4): 224–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Moore D P (1999) Women entrepreneurs approaching a new millennium. In Powell G N (ed) Handbook of Gender and Work. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CAGoogle Scholar
  26. Pearce D (1990) Welfare is not for women. Why the war on poverty cannot conquer the feminization of poverty. In Gordon I (ed) Women, the State and Welfare, The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, WIGoogle Scholar
  27. Quevedo Monjarás L M, Izar Landeta J M, Romo Rojas, L (2010) Factores endógenos y exógenos de mujeres y hombres emprendedores de España, Estados Unidos y México. Invest cienc 18 (46): 57–63Google Scholar
  28. Rozier C K, Thompson M (1998) Female entrepreneurs in a female-dominated health profession: an exploratory study. J dev entrep 3 (2): 149–63Google Scholar
  29. Reed R (1996) Entrepreneurialism and paternalism in Australian management: a gender critique of the “self-made man”. In Collinson D and Hearon J. (eds). Sage, LondonGoogle Scholar
  30. Schwarz E J, Wdowiak M A, Almer-Jarz D A, Breitenecker R J (2009) The effects of attitudes and perceived environment conditions on students’ entrepreneurial intent: An Austrian perspective. Educ train 51 (4): 272–291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sexton D L, Bowman-Upton N (1990) Female and male entrepreneurs: Psychological characteristics and their role in gender-related discrimination. J bus venturing 5 (1): 29–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Thurik R, Verheul I, Grilo I (2008) Explaining preferences and actual involvement in self-employment: New insights into the role of gender. Scales Research Reports, H200803, EIM Business and Policy ResearchGoogle Scholar
  33. Verheul I, Thurik R (2001) Start-up capital: ‘Does gender matter?’. Small bus manag 16, (2): 109–125Google Scholar
  34. Veira X (2008) A comparison between female and male entrepreneurs in the perspective of gender. Glob watch 3 (1): 95–99Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberto Espíritu-Olmos
    • 1
  • Miguel Angel Sastre-Castillo
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Facultad de Contabilidad y Administración, Campus TecománUniversidad de Colima, MéxicoColimaMexico
  2. 2.Escuela Universitaria de Estudios EmpresarialesUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain
  3. 3.Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México ITAMMexico CityMexico

Personalised recommendations