It is suggested that more “role model” women entrepreneurs are needed. However, the gender gap in entrepreneurship remains. This study analyses the narratives of 51 role model women entrepreneurs to explore how they represent women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship. We found that in accordance with the contemporary pressure for women to succeed and perform personally and professionally, the voice of the (super)woman doing “individualized entrepreneurial femininity” dominates. The role models narratives obscure race, class, and age barriers; reproduce prevailing gender stereotypes; normalize discriminatory workplace treatment and depict entrepreneurship as an appropriate alternative for working mothers. Implications for policy makers are presented.


Janice Byrne, Salma Fattoum and Maria Cristina Diaz Garcia. Forthcoming. Role Models and Women Entrepreneurs: Entrepreneurial Superwoman Has Her Say, Journal of Small Business Management, first published 27 February 2018: