Women Entrepreneurs and the Myth of ‘Underperformance’
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Women Entrepreneurs and the Myth of ‘Underperformance’

A New Look at Women’s Entrepreneurship Research

Edited by Shumaila Yousafzai, Alain Fayolle, Adam Lindgreen, Colette Henry, Saadat Saeed and Shandana Sheikh

Taking a fresh look at how performance is defined by examining the institutional power structures and policies, eminent scholars herein explore ways to overcome constrained performance and encourage women’s entrepreneurial activities through a variety of methodological approaches and geographical contexts.
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Chapter 2: Value creation through women’s entrepreneurship

Shandana Sheikh, Shumaila Yousafzai, Federica Sist, Aybeniz Akdeniz AR and Saadat Saeed


Shandana Sheikh and her co-authors argue that, although evaluation of entrepreneurial activity in terms of financial performance, wealth creation and firm survival is important, it often results in a one-sided analysis in which entrepreneurship is evaluated and appraised solely in monetary terms, without reference to its social impact and other types of value. They suggest that such approaches limit the contribution of entrepreneurial activity that is initiated by disadvantaged and marginalized groups, even though these groups often create significant value beyond financial value. They argue that, while women entrepreneurs are often labelled as ‘underperformers’ in business because of their businesses’ low rate of growth and low success rates, these criteria are those that society expects women to meet, not those that women expect or want to meet. Hence, one must look beyond standard measures of performance and success and focus on what success and performance means to the woman entrepreneur. Their study presents narratives from two women entrepreneurs who highlight the unique ways in which they create value and contribute to their economies and societies. The authors’ findings suggest that women create value at multiple levels, including value to their lives (individual value), to their businesses (business value), to their families and households (household/family value), and to their societies (society/community value).

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