Women's active participation in the labor market increases productivity, efficiency and gender equality and is one of the essential engines of sustainable and inclusive growth in modern societies. Women’s participation in entrepreneurial activities could also generate a significant multiplier effect in local labor markets by demanding specific occupational profiles, usually fulfilled by other women, in activities related to home-and-child care. This paper analyzes the differences between female and male entrepreneurship focusing on the socio-economic, demographic and attitudinal characteristics of nascent, young and established entrepreneurs. The principal aim is to measure and understand gender differences in the Italian entrepreneurial process. For the empirical analyses, we used the Italian data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) and tested our hypothesis by estimating binary logistic regressions on the pooled sample between 2001-2010. The results confirm the male-headed nature of entrepreneurship, but show that the greatest gender differences in the profiles of entrepreneurs are concentrated in the start-up phase
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