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Breaking the glass ceiling: empowering female entrepreneurs through female mentors

Germann, Frank, Anderson, Stephen J., Chintagunta, Pradeep K. and Vilcassim, Naufel J. ORCID: 0000-0003-0192-8014 (2024) Breaking the glass ceiling: empowering female entrepreneurs through female mentors. Marketing Science, 43 (2). 244 - 253. ISSN 0732-2399

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Identification Number: 10.1287/mksc.2023.0108


Among the millions of entrepreneurs in developing economies, few are able to earn a decent livelihood. To help these entrepreneurs succeed, governmental and nongovernmental organizations invest billions of dollars every year in providing training programs. Many of these programs involve providing entrepreneurs with mentors. Unfortunately, the effects of these programs are often muted, or even null, for woman-owned firms. Against this backdrop, we tested whether gender matching, where female entrepreneurs are randomly paired with a female mentor, could help address the gender gap. Findings from a randomized controlled field experiment with 930 Ugandan entrepreneurs show that mentor gender has a powerful impact on female entrepreneurs. Firm sales and profits of female entrepreneurs guided by a female mentor increased by, on average, 32% and 31% compared with the control group, and these estimates are even larger for female entrepreneurs with high aspirations. In contrast, female entrepreneurs guided by a male mentor did not significantly improve performance compared with the control group. We provide suggestive mechanism evidence that female mentor-mentee arrangements were characterized by more positive engagements.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 INFORMS
Divisions: Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
JEL classification: L - Industrial Organization > L2 - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior > L20 - General
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J1 - Demographic Economics > J16 - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2023 14:54
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2024 18:15

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