The purpose of this study is to generate a better understanding of the challenges female entrepreneurs in the creative industries face, from an initial filter of gender, but also expanding into other areas and comparing them to the same findings when it comes to the opposite gender. Recently, there have been many developments in gender equality in the workplace, but many women would still argue that there is still a long way to go. Roles have been changed, and now males contribute more in the home, while women are also busier in the workplace. My theoretical framework based the challenges faced by entrepreneurs on three initial pillars: the concept of gender; immigrant status (when the person would start a business outside of their home country); and self-doubt. While previous studies have demonstrated that there are challenges faced by female entrepreneurs in these areas, they were not specifically and systematically applied to understand and analyze highly-educated, highly-skilled female entrepreneurs that work in the creative industries. To achieve this goal, as a researcher, I conducted 10 semi-structured in-depth interviews with females and males who have started their own businesses in the creative industries. The analysis shows the level of understanding the interviewees have of the creative industries, and how they perceive their business to be a part of it, as well as what they consider being creative; it also demonstrates that females felt judgement for being such during certain periods of their life, especially when working on larger companies, and how running their own business gave them more freedom to choose who to work with. They also explained how they deal with the gender issue in their day-to-day work, by choosing who to work with, balancing work/personal life (including family and motherhood) and manage how they are perceived via their physical appearance. When interviewing males, the research demonstrated that they also face some of the same challenges, albeit not the ones specifically related to their gender, such as self-doubt, lack of focus, and the need to seek help. They also share some of the same strategies for copying with them: building a strong network, being coached, among other things. While the reason explained behind entrepreneurship is similar in some ways (following your dreams, and having freedom), some women expressed that in entrepreneurship came as a solution for having a family and being able to work, given its flexibility compared to working for a company that is not their own. The research concludes by explaining these challenges and strategies in detail, humbly aiming at inspiring other female entrepreneurs in the creative industries, increasing awareness about gender-related issues, and devising a tried-and-tested model for dealing with challenges.

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Dr. Sven-Ove Horst
Media & Creative Industries
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Priscila de Almeida Antunes. (2022, June 27). The path to success – The challenges female entrepreneurs in the creative industries face And the strategies they utilize to overcome them. Media & Creative Industries. Retrieved from