This paper critically analyses how gender bias impacts upon women’s efforts to legitimate nascent ventures. Given the importance of founder identity as a proxy for entrepreneurial legitimacy at nascency, we explore the identity work women undertake when seeking to claim legitimacy for their emerging ventures in a prevailing context of masculinity. To illustrate this analysis, we use retrospective and real time empirical evidence with women who were actively developing new ventures. Evaluating legitimating strategies as they unfolded over time, our findings reveal tensions between feminine identities such as ‘wife’ and ‘mother’ and those of the prototypical entrepreneur. This dissonance prompted these women to undertake specific forms of identity work to bridge the gap between femininity, legitimacy and entrepreneurship. We conclude by arguing that the pursuit of entrepreneurial legitimacy during nascency is a gendered process which disadvantages women and has the potential to negatively impact upon the future prospects of their fledging ventures.
|Pages (from-to)||256 -282|
|Number of pages||27|
|Journal||Entrepreneurship & Regional Development|
|Publication status||Published - 29 Nov 2017|