Postgraduate study

Uncovering the gender gap for female entrepreneurs

Women who run online businesses are less likely to be given funding or be taken seriously, according to research by Entrepreneurship Lecturer, Dr Angela Dy.

Uncovering the gender gap for female entrepreneurs
The 18-month study observed 26 female digital entrepreneurs from a range of backgrounds, and identified the influences associated with their failure and success.
The results highlighted a variety of challenges including overcoming unwelcoming business networks, learning and navigating unfamiliar technical platforms, hiring help and delegating responsibility, and battling social hierarchy in order to be accepted and taken seriously.
Dr Dy led the project, which found further intersectional outcomes amongst female digital entrepreneurs. In particular, socio-economic class background appeared to be a major factor in determining levels of business success and failure, and racial discrimination was not eliminated in the virtual environment.
The findings contradict the popular belief that everyone has the same digital opportunities once they have access to the Internet. Dr Dy’s research encourages us to question our expectations of the Internet to support intrepreneurial
potential, and reminds us that technology is very much a part of society, not a separate sphere.

Because of the associations of tech with masculinity, women are not always taken seriously when it comes to our digital ventures. And while we are seeing more media attention towards female digital entrepreneurs, those with solid educations and career histories, and who aren’t up against racist discrimination, are better placed to do well with their online businesses.

Dr Dy