Women Often Don’t Take Leadership Roles in Companies That They Own

Data from the U.S. Department of Commerce finds that women own 30 percent of U.S. companies. Another 17 percent of American companies are co-owned by men and women. The number of women-owned businesses is growing 1.5 times as fast as business growth as a whole.

A new study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, finds that in companies co-owned by men and women, women rarely take on the leadership role. The survey of a large group of new companies that are co-owned by men and women, found that men are 85 percent more likely than women to lead the company. The effect is most pronounced for companies operated by husband-wife teams.

yang-photoTiantian Yang, an assistant professor of sociology at Duke University and a co-author of the study that was conducted while she was a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says that in husband-wife business start-ups you see home gender roles naturally bleeding into companies division of responsibility and power. “When husband and wife work together, they carry with them the cultural expectations for the male breadwinner and the female homemaker roles into the business setting,” said Yang.

The article, “Women Entrepreneurs Have Limited Opportunities to Lead Businesses They Co-Found,” was published in the American Sociological Review.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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