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 7: How vague entrepreneurial identities of Swedish women entrepreneurs are performed by government financiers

Aija Voitkane, Jeaneth Johansson, Malin Malmström and Joakim Wincent


Aija Voitkane, Jeaneth Johansson, Malin Malmström and Joakim Wincent explore the myth of women’s underperformance as reflected in Swedish governmental financiers’ social interactions when they analyse ventures for investment. Given Sweden’s reputation of being far ahead of other countries in terms of gender-equality issues, one may wonder why women in Sweden are still severely under-represented in entrepreneurship. The authors employ Butler’s theory of identity in conceptualizing financiers’ process of performing gender and entrepreneurial identity in discussions to offer a model that elaborates on the myth of women entrepreneurs’ underperformance. Observing governmental financiers’ meetings, they consider culture and the discourse that takes place in financiers’ performance of entrepreneurial identities and, thus, the construction of the underperformance myth. The authors adopt a symbolic-interpretative lens to explain how men and women financiers interpret and attribute meanings to gender relationships in their assessment work. They also show that such interpretations can influence their interactions both within their organization and with the ventures that apply for financing.

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