College News

DCU Led Project Addressing Gender Imbalance in Entrepreneurial Sector Receives €1m in Funding

A Dublin City University (DCU) led consortium that is addressing the gender imbalance in the Entrepreneurial sector in Ireland, has been awarded nearly €1m in funding.

The project is titled ‘Overcoming the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Gender Divide: A Cross-Cultural Perspective’. The head of the project is Professor Maura McAdam, a Professor of Management and Director of Entrepreneurship in DCU’s Business School.

The team is made up of McAdam and three partners from Israel, Norway and Sweden. The aim of the project is to provide a nuanced understanding of how gender is a decisive factor when it comes to women’s participation in the entrepreneurship ecosystem.

The funding was awarded by the Irish Research Council under GENDER-NET Plus, who are an EU-funded initiative. Their aim is to strengthen networks between researchers from other countries and to support gender equality through institutional change. They gave the project €994,133.

The project is set to last for three years and the work began on March 1st 2019. After the end of year one, outputs from the different stages of the project will start getting published.

With the contributors of the project being from four different countries, there will be a cross-cultural comparison of women’s participation in the entrepreneurial ecosystems in each of the countries.

An entrepreneurial ecosystem is the social and economic environment that affect the local or regional entrepreneurship which helps to promote the creation of new businesses. A healthy inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem includes four domains, which are density, fluidity, connectivity and diversity of opportunity.

“In all four domains, women’s entrepreneurial activity is underrepresented: the relative share of women in and entering into entrepreneurship is lower than for men,” said McAdam, “women are leaving employment in STEM-based industries, due to a hostile environment, gender bias and glass wall/ceiling effects, reducing their potential entrepreneurial contribution; where networks exist they are not all gender inclusive; and women are significantly underrepresented in what is still a highly masculinised domain.”

It is hoped that this project will increase awareness of gender inequality within the high tech sector, which may lead to more gender equality in the sector and for more women to become successful technology entrepreneurs.