The Role of Gender Stereotypes in Perceptions of Entrepreneurs and Intentions to Become an Entrepreneur


Vishal K. Gupta, tel.: (607) 777-6853; e-mail:


In this study we examine the role of socially constructed gender stereotypes in entrepreneurship and their influence on men and women's entrepreneurial intentions. Data on characteristics of males, females, and entrepreneurs were collected from young adults in three countries. As hypothesized, entrepreneurs were perceived to have predominantly masculine characteristics. Additional results revealed that although both men and women perceive entrepreneurs to have characteristics similar to those of males (masculine gender-role stereotype), only women also perceived entrepreneurs and females as having similar characteristics (feminine gender-role stereotype). Further, though men and women did not differ in their entrepreneurial intentions, those who perceived themselves as more similar to males (high on male gender identification) had higher entrepreneurial intentions than those who saw themselves as less similar to males (low male gender identification). No such difference was found for people who saw themselves as more or less similar to females (female gender identification). The results were consistent across the three countries. Practical implications and directions for future research are discussed.