Why are there still so few female entrepreneurs? According to one MIT researcher, the answer is simple: it all comes down to sexual rejection. Chizoba Nnaemeka, of the MIT Entrepreneurship Review, says women aren’t as practised as men at being turned down. As such, she says, they don’t learn some of the skills required to strike out on their own in business, such as “confidence and optimism, sales and marketing, resilience, and trace amounts of desperation.” To pursue romantic relationships, after all, is to risk repeated rejection, much like trying to raise significant amounts of capital to finance a start-up.
It’s not that women are biologically different when it comes to taking risks and dealing with rejection, but from a young age men and women learn to perceive risk differently. Nnaemeka says males chalk up rejection to external factors, such as poor preparation.
Females tend to internalize rejection and take it as a sign of lack of ability. But neither sex gets off scot-free: women’s internalization of feelings is more likely to lead to depression, and men are more likely to act out and turn to drugs and alcohol when they face rejection. Still, if you were the kind of person who couldn’t get a date in high school, don’t worry. It might have given you the tools to make a million dollars one day.
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