A new study from Arizona State University has found that for girls, trauma such as childhood abuse or a bad parental divorce could hold back their entrepreneurial instincts.
Led by Zhen Zhang, an assistant professor at the W.P. Carey School of Business, researchers looked at 1,400 pairs of fraternal and identical twins, asked them questions about their childhoods and studied their work history. Behavioral studies often employ sets of twins, which helps cut out much of the impact of genetic factors and focuses on experiences.
The research follows earlier findings by Zhen, which proposed that boys’ entrepreneurial ventures are influenced only by their environment, while girls are more swayed by genetic factors which set personality traits.
"We want to make society better," Zhang said. "We want to be clear that genes don’t determine everything, so we can provide training programs and other opportunities to help open up kids’ eyes to the possibility of working for themselves."
Hope’s not lost for young female entrepreneurs who suffered a rough childhood; the study found that supportive and nurturing environments during adolescence can help encourage them to consider entrepreneurship.