The influence of knowledge, experience, and education on gender disparity in entrepreneurial self-efficacy

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Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship


Prior research suggests significant gender disparities in entrepreneurial self-efficacy (ESE). Cultural norms, gender role stereotypes, and resulting diverse self-beliefs are often used to explain the significant gender differences in ESE. This study argues that besides cultural norms and stereotypes, the gender difference in ESE can partly be explained by individual background variables such as supervisory experience, business process knowledge, and the level of education. With data from 57 small business owners and 120 graduate and undergraduate entrepreneurship students, the study found that the gender difference in ESE is partly explained by the mediating role of business process knowledge and supervisory experience. The gender difference is also significantly lower at the graduate level of education. These results shed light on the value of business process knowledge, supervisory experience, and graduate level business education in increasing women’s ESE. Implications of the study and its limitations are discussed.

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