Despite the increasingly comparable access to resources among female and male entrepreneurs, the gender gap in entrepreneurial performance seems to persist. In this paper, we propose that this gap not only originates from different resource levels but is also rooted in broader contextual contingencies that variably enable or constrain female entrepreneurs’ success. Analyzing a proprietary database of 6,154 Chinese privately owned enterprises, we found that on average, ventures owned by male entrepreneurs significantly outperform those owned by female entrepreneurs, after controlling for various types of resource stocks. Beyond resource access, the enduring gender gap seems to be amplified by the strong government intervention and cultural beliefs in gender inequality at the province level. We further examined the micro-level mechanisms underlying these broader patterns and found that in provinces with stronger government intervention and gender inequality beliefs: (1) compared with male entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs are more likely to select into low revenue-generating industries; and (2) more time is needed for after work social activities, which tend to disadvantage women.
Eric Yanfei ZHAO is an Assistant Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship at the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University. Before joining IU, he got three degrees respectively from the London School of Economics, University of Toronto, and University of Alberta. Professor Zhao’s research interests lie at the intersection of strategy, organization theory and entrepreneurship, with a particular focus on “strategic paradoxes”. His research work appears in many top management academic journals, such as Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, and Strategy Management Journal, and receives numbers of research awards from the Academy of Management.