#Entrepreneurs — 24.05.2018

2018 Study on Entrepreneurial Diversity and Gender Stereotypes

This study, conducted by the Women Initiative Foundation in partnership with BNP Paribas Wealth Management, establishes an inventory of diversity in entrepreneurship and the main obstacles to female entrepreneurship from 400 entrepreneurs from France, Germany and Italy.


Main conclusions of the study: 

  • Family first: family constraints are the only obstacle to entrepreneurship common to all three countries, cited by up to 90% of Italian respondents. The family model can also be a facilitator, since 80% of them have entrepreneurial parents in Italy, 37% in Germany and 35% in France.
  • A feeling of self-censorship and lack of self-confidence is strongly identified in the study: 86% of French women entrepreneurs cite it, as well as 63% in Germany.
  • Unsatisfactory wages are the main incentive to start a business mentioned by women entrepreneurs in the three countries, a feeling that is even more pronounced among those under 35.   
  • Concerning their respective business strategies, women have a different approach to the capital of their company, 90% of them want to keep control against 67% of men. Men envisage growth more through acquisitions (40% against 31% for women) or the creation of subsidiaries (45% against 34% for women). Women prefer to launch new products within their current company (82% versus 77% of men).  
  • In terms of stereotypes related to management style, the total sample agrees that women are consensual, more motivating and above all more equitable than men. The latter are described as more authoritarian.  
  • For stereotypes of perception, male entrepreneurs believe that women are more pragmatic, responsive, non-authoritarian, combative and less political. As for women entrepreneurs, they perceive men as more ambitious, authoritarian, strategic, self-confident, and even unethical. The myth of the confident and political male entrepreneur is present in the minds of women. 

BNP Paribas Wealth Management creates initiatives to understand, serve and celebrate women entrepreneurs:

  • Women Entrepreneur Program at Stanford: exclusive program on leadership to accelerate business growth, in partnership with WIF.
  • #ConnectHers: program helping women to develop their entrepreneurial projects and promoting gender equality in France.
  • Women Inspiring Future: a platform for top women entrepreneurs in Belgium to discuss hurdles women encounter and take remedial actions together.
  • BNP Paribas Global Prize for Women Entrepreneurs: in partnership with FCEM (Femmes Chefs d’Entreprises Mondiales), first global recognition that celebrates outstanding women in entrepreneurship.