Master of Science (MSc)
Management and Organizational Behaviour
Lazaridis School of Business and Economics
Past research has consistently shown that female-led ventures tend to receive less funding than male-led ventures, but the reasons for this gap are unclear. Drawing on the ambivalent sexism theory, this study examines how investors’ benevolent sexism influences funding allocations to male- and female-led ventures. In particular, I propose that individuals who endorse benevolent sexism are less likely to perceive female-led ventures as viable because they may believe that entrepreneurship is too challenging for women due to their dual roles as home-makers and entrepreneurs. As a consequence, they may want to protect women from failure by giving women less funding as that would make their ventures smaller and easier to manage. I conducted an experimental vignette study where investors, i.e., business students with experience with early-stage venture context, rated their perceptions of the venture viability and made funding allocations for an early-stage venture. Contrary to expectations, benevolent sexism was not related to perceptions of venture viability or funding allocation for female-led ventures. However, investors’ benevolent sexism was positively associated with perceptions of venture viability for male-led ventures, which, in turn, was related to greater funding allocations. Although not entirely in line with my hypotheses, the results provided preliminary evidence for the role of benevolent sexism in underfunding of female-led ventures by giving men an advantage in venture evaluation and funding, while equally qualified women do not get the same advantages. Thus, benevolent sexism might be subtly and unnoticeably undermining success of female-led ventures.
Nguyen, Nhu, "The Gender Gap in Start-up Funding: The Role of Investors' Benevolent Sexism" (2019). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 2179.