Category Archives: Research

Gender & Entrepreneurship at the Smith Entrepreneurship Research Conference

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Left to right: Mabel Abraham, David Ross, Dolly Oberoi and Rajshree Agarwal

by: Karolyn Maynard MBA ’18

On Friday April 20th, at the 14th Annual Smith Entrepreneurship Research Conference chaired by Professors Anil Gupta and David Kirsch, the Dingman Center’s Ladies First Initiative sponsored a panel discussion, “Gender and Entrepreneurship: Past, Present and Future.”

Sara Herald, our Ladies First champion, shared a thought-provoking statement to introduce the panel discussion: she described the mission of the Ladies First initiative as focused upon understanding the different barriers that female students face and how we can fix the system, not fix the women.

This was an apt introduction to spur further investigation in the area of gender and entrepreneurship, which brought 2 researchers, Mabel Abraham from Columbia University and David Ross from University of Florida, together with Dolly Oberoi, Co-Founder and Chairman of C2 Technologies, to discuss the topic of female entrepreneurship in the US.

The session chair and moderator, Rajshree Agarwal, asked salient questions and highlighted the reality that being a female founder has nearly universally negative outcomes, particularly  in the US. As researchers and founders discussed the hypotheses and reasons for this, something became increasingly clear—even though the barriers have been reduced, it is a misconception to think that the barriers are gone.

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Smith School Undergrads Present Research in Rome

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From left: Fasika Delessa, Evan Haas, Aishwariya Chandrasekar, Sarina Haryanto and Professor David Kirsch

by: Megan McPherson

On April 18-19, four Smith School students in the Center for Social Value Creation’s Social Innovation Fellows program, Sarina Haryanto, Aishwariya Chandrasekar, Fasika Delessa and Evan Haas, and Professor David Kirsch attended the inaugural IESE-LUISS Business School Conference on Responsibility, Sustainability and Social Entrepreneurship in Rome. Under the guidance of Professor Kirsch, these undergraduate students presented their paper, Hybrid Organizations and Social Enterprise Ecosystems: Findings from a U.S. Survey, to a room full of established academics.

The survey that formed the basis of their research was first launched by Halcyon Incubator in Washington, D.C. Last year, Halcyon released From the Ground Up: Defining Social Enterprise Systems in the U.S., the results of a nationwide survey to social entrepreneurs that assessed cities based on four “pillars” that create a healthy framework for a social enterprise ecosystem: Funding, Quality of Life, Human Capital and Regulations & Receptivity. The findings of the report designated Washington D.C. the number one ecosystem for social entrepreneurs.

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Dingman Research Seminar Series: Where Has The Gender Gap Been Closed?

Shweta Gaonkar
PhD candidate, Management and Organization department, Robert H. Smith School of Business

The surge of women into the workforce since the 20th century seems to have peaked out in the 21st century, with the percentage of women in the workforce well below the level of men. The recent book by Sheryl Sandburg “Lean In: Women, work and the will to Lead” has come under criticism due to the institutional constraint most women face while balancing work with personal life. Many are left to wonder, have women been able to close this gender gap at all?

Waverly Ding  Assistant Professor, Management & Organization

Waverly Ding
Assistant Professor, Management & Organization

The answer to this simple question is a little more complicated than it seems. In a recent article in The Atlantic, Professor Slaughter recently attributed her move to an academic positionto accommodate her personal commitments. Does this mean that academic positions allow women to dedicate more time to family life? Have women in academic career been able to close the gender gap? A recent study by a group of Smith School of Business faculty including Waverly Ding, Assistant Professor, Management & Organization, examined these questions among scientists and engineers.

The group found that among 50,000 PhD graduates in science and engineering, about 20% of women are in industry while 33% are in academic jobs. Clearly, highly qualified women in the workforce prefer academic job to one in the industry. Does this imply that Professor Slaughter’s argument about having more leisure time in academic career as compared to a job in the industry is true? To answer this question the authors dig deeper and list out the five key explanations of why a gender gap could exist. They then examine each one carefully:

1) Dual Career: Married women who are in the workforce along with their spouse have to navigate additional hurdles related to coordinating their career with that of their spouse. Men, with full time working spouse experience a decrease in earning by 7.4% and 6.6 % in academia and industry. While for women with full time working spouse, this effect is less dramatic; 3.2% and 0.5% in academia and industry. Hence, dual career is not a good explanation for the gender gap.

2) Baby penalty: One key argument of why the gender gap exists is that women take over most of the child rearing responsibilities and having a baby could lead to a negative impact on their career. Men in academia that have children experience increase in earnings. While women face a heavy penalty of 7.1% in academia and no penalty if they are working in the industry (-5.2%). So having children during academic career is detrimental for women’s earnings, while this has quite the opposite impact on women in industry. This implies that there is some underlying factor of women being in academia that they face a heavier penalty. The authors try to investigate what are these factors with the next three explanations of gender gap.

3) Pink Ghetto: Women choose low paying jobs to dedicate more time to personal life.  The authors do not find any support for the idea that women segregate themselves into lower paying jobs.

4) Good Ol Boys effect: This is the classic idea of gender gap where men are preferred in a workforce.  Women with a doctorate degree, face more institutional hurdles like tenure system rather than gender based discrimination.

5) Tenure system: Institutional differences between academic and industrial jobs. Unlike a job in a firm, academic jobs are dependent on research productivity. For women in academia with a work experience lasting 8 or more years having children creates the maximum penalty in earnings (-9.8%) as compared to a women with similar experience in the industry (-1%)

Reference: Waverly, D., Agarwal ,R., Ohyama, A., (2014). Where is the Promised Land? Gender Gap in Earnings of Scientists and Engineers in Academia and Industry. Working Paper.

About Shweta Gaonkar3dea3db
Shweta Gaonkar is a PhD candidate at Management and Organizations department at Robert H. Smith School of Business. Her research focuses on founders’ background and its implication on the formation of inter organizational networks. Website:

About Waverly Ding 24e65a4
Waverly Ding is an Assistant Professor of Management & Organization at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. Dr. Ding earned her MBA and Ph.D. in business from the University of Chicago. Prior to joining the Smith School faculty, she was an assistant professor at Haas School of Business, the University of California at Berkeley.
Dr. Ding’s research focuses on high-tech entrepreneurship and strategy, knowledge transfer between universities and industrial firms, and the U.S. biotech industry. She has also conducted research relating to labor force in science and technology. Her work has been published in Science, American Journal of Sociology, Management Science, Journal of Industrial Economics, and Research Policy.


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