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 3: Stepping into power: women leaders and their journey of self-redefinition

Milka Milliance

Abstract

Milka Milliance’s article adopts a feminine leadership paradigm to enrich the discussion on redefining performance in entrepreneurship and contributes to the discussion on women’s entrepreneurship and its underperformance stereotypes. She highlights the importance of women using their whole selves instead of only their feminism to achieve self-efficacy and drive change. This chapter presents a multi-disciplinary review of the literature across the fields of entrepreneurship, leadership, gender studies and archetypal psychology, and takes a radical feminist point of view to disavow the notion of gender neutrality in entrepreneurial leadership. Drawing on rich insights from heroines’ case studies in the USA, Milka engages with social constructs such as gender and race, deconstructs gender neutrality, and develops an account of women entrepreneurs’ self-redefinition journey. She suggests that the first step to achieving self-efficacy is a call for change when women conquer their fears, gain the courage to acknowledge and serve their own needs, and create a vision of the world they would like to see. Milka insists that feminine leadership is not about separation from others to go on a heroic quest, only to return transformed, but about going within, to contribute to transforming self and society.

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