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Issue Season

Fall

Document Type

Research Article

Abstract

As of 2007, there were an estimated 10.4 million businesses in the United States that were owned and operated by women. The number of women-owned firms has continued to grow at around twice the rate of all firms for the past two decades (Center for Women’s Business Research, 2008). On the other hand, women comprise only 15.4 percent of corporate officers in Fortune 500 companies (Catalyst, 2007b) and, in 2003, held only 14.8 percent of board seats in the Fortune 500 (Catalyst, 2007a).To better understand the glass ceiling faced by both female entrepreneurs and women leaders, the research on women’s issues is examined from a number of different vantage points. Women’s entrepreneurship and women’s leadership research on leadership, decision-making, and gender differences was examined to discover commonalities. Then female single-sex education literature was reviewed for insights on developmental issues that might influence future women entrepreneurs and leaders. In this exploration of research, it was found that both women entrepreneurs and women leaders in the corporate environment tend toward the same leadership styles and ways of interacting with others; they also experience a lack of role models and possible lack of self-efficacy.The literature on single-sex education provides observations that young women may thrive in environments in which there are fewer male competitors, hold less stereotyped views on gender, hold higher aspirations, may have greater opportunities for training of leadership skills, and may have increased self-confidence that may be the result of exposure to successful women role models. Implications for future research are explored and suggestions are provided to meet the needs of developing women entrepreneurs.

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