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Neo-liberalism translated into preconditions for women entrepreneurs - two contrasting cases

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  • Malin Tillmar
  • Helene Ahl
  • Karin Berglund
  • Katarina Pettersson
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>13/03/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy
Publication StatusAccepted/In press
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Purpose
Contrasting two countries with different gender regimes and welfare states, Sweden and Tanzania, we analyse how the institutional context affects the ways in which a neo-liberal reform agenda is translated into institutional changes and propose how such changes impact the preconditions for women’s entrepreneurship.

Design/methodology/approach
We use document analysis and previous studies to describe and analyse the
institutions and the institutional changes. We use Scandinavian institutional theory as our interpretative framework.

Findings
We propose that:
1) In well-developed welfare states with a high level of gender equality,
consequences of neo-liberal agenda for the preconditions for women entrepreneurs are more likely to be negative than positive.
2) In less developed states with a low level of gender equality, the gendered
consequences of neo-liberal reforms may be mixed and the preconditions for
women’s entrepreneurship more positive than negative.
3) How neo-liberalism impacts preconditions for women entrepreneurs depends on the institutional framework in terms of a trustworthy women-friendly state and level of gender equality.

Originality
We demonstrate why any discussion of the impact of political or economic reforms on women’s entrepreneurship must take a country’s specific institutional context into account. Further, previous studies on neo-liberalism have rarely taken an interest in Africa.

Research limitations/implications
The study calls for bringing the effects on gender of the neo-liberal primacy of
market solutions out of the black box. Studying how women entrepreneurs perceive these effects necessitates qualitative ethnographic data.