Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Empowering Female Entrepreneurs through Female Mentors

49 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2023

See all articles by Frank Germann

Frank Germann

University of Notre Dame

Stephen J. Anderson

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Pradeep K. Chintagunta

University of Chicago

Naufel Vilcassim

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - London School of Economics

Date Written: March 22, 2023

Abstract

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 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 women-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 although mentor gender has little impact on male entrepreneurs, it has a powerful impact on female entrepreneurs. Firm sales and profits of female entrepreneurs guided by a female mentor increased by, on average, 34% and 29% compared to 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 to the control group. We provide suggestive mechanism evidence that female mentor-mentee arrangements are characterized by more relational exchanges.

Keywords: female entrepreneurs, gender gap, glass ceiling, mentorship gender-matching, randomized controlled field experiment, small firm growth, developing economies

Suggested Citation

Germann, Frank and Anderson, Stephen J. and Chintagunta, Pradeep K. and Vilcassim, Naufel, Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Empowering Female Entrepreneurs through Female Mentors (March 22, 2023). University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Working Paper No. 2023-42, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4396899 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4396899

Frank Germann

University of Notre Dame ( email )

361 Mendoza College of Business
Notre Dame, IN 46556-5646
United States

Stephen J. Anderson

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

Pradeep K. Chintagunta (Contact Author)

University of Chicago ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-8015 (Phone)
773-702-0458 (Fax)

Naufel Vilcassim

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - London School of Economics ( email )

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
85
Abstract Views
429
Rank
484,692
PlumX Metrics