Abstract

Previous research on women entrepreneurship has failed to provide an explanation for how women surmount the challenges they face, and how they build and run ventures despite numerous barriers. This research explains how women entrepreneurs overcome the negative gender stereotypes through the lens of stereotype reactance theory and relative deprivation theory. We argue that negative gender stereotype leads to experience of relative deprivation for women. Relative deprivation indicates not only the perception of disadvantaged position but also the resentment towards the disadvantaged position. Because of such resentment, relative deprivation is possibly followed by self-improvement response, here intention to start a business. We also argue that vulnerability to negative gender stereotypes among women entrepreneurs leads to experience of relative deprivation. Relative deprivation is argued to be followed by self-improvement response, here intention to grow a business. In other words, the self-improvement response to the experience of relative deprivation protects women’s entrepreneurial intentions from the threats of negative gender stereotypes.

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