More Than Words: Do Gendered Linguistic Structures Widen the gender Gap in Entrepreneurial Activities

A1 Journal article (refereed)

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Diana Hechavarria, Siri Terjesen, Pekka Stenholm, Malin Brännback, Stefan Lång
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Publication year: 2017
Journal: Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice
eISSN: 1540-6520


Leveraging linguistic relativity theory which suggests that language systems structure thought and action, we investigate the relationship between gendered linguistic structures and the persistent gender gap in early-stage entrepreneurial activity. We use country-level data compiled from 105 countries in 2001-2015 with 55 different languages, and incorporate 32 controls covering a broad range of factors previously associated with entrepreneurial activity. We find that in countries where the dominant language’s structure incorporates sex-based systems and gendered pronouns, there is a greater gap in entrepreneurial activity. Our results suggest that gendered linguistic structures reinforce gender stereotypes and discourage women’s entry into entrepreneurship.

Last updated on 2019-08-12 at 02:54