Entrepreneurial intention: A gender comparison of tertiary business students

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Edith Cowan University


Faculty of Business and Public Management


School of Management




Walker, E. A., & Devine, J. M. (2002). Entreprenurial Intention: A Gender Comparison of Teriary Business Students. Proceedings of 11th International Women in Leadership Conference. ECU, Perth, WA. Edith Cowan University, WA.


Entrepreneurial activity has traditionally been the domain of business and in Australia there has been some spectacular falls from grace by male corporate highfliers. Corporate falls from grace are not just confined to Australia as they appear to be a worldwide phenomenon, however they do appear to be linked to men more so than women. It could be argued that there are so few women in positions of power in large organisations that it is inevitable that it will be men who will both succeed and fail in equally spectacular fashion.

Given that entrepreneurial activity is often associated with risk, and previous studies have shown that women are more conservative in their approach to business and decision making, women are therefore less likely to engage is dubious corporate activities. At the micro business level women do operate smaller enterprises and do have slower growth than their male counterparts. However what is not clearly established is whether that is because of less inclination to take risk, often associated with financial borrowing, or whether women are still some way behind men in their general business activities.

This paper will present the results of a survey of approximately 300 tertiary students and their attitudes to entrepreneurial activity.

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