The Second Glass Ceiling Impedes Women Entrepreneurs

Douglas A. Bosse, University of Richmond
Porcher L. Taylor III


The glass ceiling phenomenon that impedes the advancement of talented women professionals into senior executive roles inside large corporations is widely recognized in society, studied in the management literature, taught in business schools, and tangibly felt by many women executives. Outside the corporate setting, we show that a second glass ceiling exists for women entrepreneurs and women small business owners. This second glass ceiling is a gender bias that obstructs women-owned small firms from accessing the financial capital required to start new firms and fuel the growth of existing firms. This paper (1) defines the second glass ceiling phenomenon, (2) provides evidence of its existence, causes and effects, and (3) proposes what both women entrepreneurs and financial capital managers should do to mitigate its deleterious effects.