This study explores how female professionals engage in starting their own businesses, known as professional entrepreneurship. In particular, this study specifies what factors foster the likelihood of self-employment of female professionals. Drawing upon the push and pull theories of entrepreneurship, we argue that individual capabilities (as a pull factor) make the self-employment of female professionals less likely, while discrimination experiences (as a push factor) make the self-employment of female professionals more likely. Given such bifurcated effects of these factors, we examine the combinatory effects of individual capabilities and discrimination experiences (which are specified as attribute-based and family-based discrimination experiences) on the rate of selfemployment of female professionals. With a sample of 1356 female lawyers in the U.S., we test our hypotheses predicting the rate of self-employment with respect to prior salary and discrimination experiences. Our results reveal that prior salary (a pull factor) motivates female lawyers to stay at the traditional law firms, whereas attribute-based discrimination experiences (a push factor) motivate them to open their own office. Furthermore, we find that such a push effect is pronounced only among the female lawyers with lower salaries. Then, the empirical findings are discussed to elaborate the process of female professionals’ entrepreneurship.
- Professional entrepreneurship
- Pull theory
- Push theory