The social entrepreneurship field appears to be doing much better in terms of women’s representation and leadership in comparison to other fields and sectors but, despite this success, female social entrepreneurs continue to operate in an unfavorable, male-dominant environment which significantly disadvantages women.

In this article, we leverage the compelling results of Ashoka’s Global Fellows Studies from 2018 and 2021, as well as a series of in-depth interviews conducted by Ashoka’s Next Now Gender Equity team to go more into detail on the barriers female social entrepreneurs face. We argue that systematically attending to these barriers has the potential to elevate the social entrepreneurship field to the next level in terms of how it defines impact, leadership, system change, and ultimately, success. This is more urgent than ever in today’s pandemic-stricken world.  

By reading this paper, you will get a sense of the gender trouble in the social entrepreneurship field, as well as the new initiatives that bring hope and rise awareness while solving the issues faced by women social entrepreneurs. 

Have a look on Social Innovations Journal's website, here. 


Publication written by Zeynep Meydanoglu Ertan, the Gender Equity Field Lead at Ashoka’s Next Now and Country Co-Director of Ashoka Turkey. Her fields of interest include, but are not limited to, gender equity, climate justice, and system change practices.