Gender quotas and more – How can we promote female entrepreneurship?

von Merih Sevilir, Ph.D., ESMT European School of Management and Technology, IWH – Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung Halle

Dieses Thema kann im Kick-Off und im Fachgespräch nur auf Englisch bearbeitet werden.

Women are massively underrepresented in business leadership positions, politics, and entrepreneurship. International female parliamentary representation stands at 26% in 2023. Women represent less than 20% of board of directors and only 5% of CEOs at S&P500 firms. Women representation in entrepreneurship is even more rare. Women-founded startups represent less than 3% of all venture capital (VC)-backed startups and women account for less than 15% VC investors. The dominance of men as both VCs and founders of VC-backed startups gives rise to a vicious cycle: male VCs invest in male-founded startups and generate massive financial gains at the exit, enabling male founders and male VCs to invest again.

To remedy the under-representation of women in entrepreneurship, law makers and policy makers as well as investors and business leaders have been taking actions. For example, many European countries and the state of California in the US passed gender quota laws mandating large and publicly traded firms to increase the number of women directors on their boards. Similarly, the business leaders of Goldman Sachs and the NASDAQ stock exchange indicated that they would not be willing to take a firm public in an initial public offering and list it on NASDAQ unless the firm recruits women directors to its board before going public. The objective of this project is to understand why promoting female entrepreneurship is important by addressing the following questions and to suggest a solution.

How to approach this issue:

  • What are the economic reasons for encouraging female entrepreneurship?
  • How would promoting female entrepreneurship have an impact on society and community, beyond economic value creation?
  • How could female entrepreneurship help reduce gender-based gap in health and education inequality?
  • What are the various channels and mechanisms for promoting female entrepreneurship? In other words, what concrete solutions would you propose?
Must-Read Literatur

Literatur wird zur Verfügung gestellt.

Adams, R.B., Ferreira, D., 2009. Women in the boardroom and their impact on governance and performance. Journal of Financial Economics 94, 291–309.

Snellman, K., Solai, I., 2022. Does Investor Gender Matter for the Success of Female Entrepreneurs? Gender Homophily and the Stigma of Incompetence in Entrepreneurial Finance. Organization Science 0, 2–30.


Logo der ESMT Berlin

Logo IWH Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung Halle

Das Thema wird betreut von

Merih Sevilir

Foto: ESMT Berlin

Merih Sevilir is Professor of Finance at ESMT Berlin. At the same time, she is the head of the Department of Laws, Regulations and Factor Markets at IWH Halle Institute for Economic Research.

Prior to joining ESMT in 2022, Merih was Associate Professor of Finance at Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. She holds a PhD in Finance from INSEAD.