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Studying gender and entrepreneurship in the context of Pakistani women from urban-poor regions

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Conference paperpeer-review

Publication date29/06/2019
<mark>Original language</mark>English
Event11th International Critical Management Studies Conference – CMS 2019 - The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
Duration: 27/06/201929/06/2021


Conference11th International Critical Management Studies Conference – CMS 2019
Abbreviated titleCMS 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityMilton Keynes
Internet address


With there are studies exploring the entrepreneurship and gender within nations in the global north such as North American, UK and Australasia regions (Ahl, 2006; Henry, Foss, & Ahl, 2016), there is little research that has focused on issues of entrepreneurship, class and gender in the context of developing countries. This research studies the experiences of women entrepreneurs from materially disadvantaged, urban-poor backgrounds in Pakistan. We contributes to literature on critical entrepreneurship studies by exploring how non-profit organizations (NGOs) perpetuate gendered norms and values around women entrepreneurship. Our research is informed by Sen’s critical-agentic capability approach in conjunction with critical feminist theory. This research approach facilitates in understanding the hegemonic gendered stereotypes that shape women entrepreneurs’ critical agency in making and enacting life-decisions according to values that they deem important. Our findings reveal that the choice of businesses for the women entrepreneurs, was delineated in a number of ways. The participants engaged with businesses that were culturally gendered and home-based. We also found the NGOs offering vocational skills training relating such businesses primarily. Further we found the functioning of women entrepreneurs was closely linked with their ability to balance business and unpaid domestic work. While the NGOs focused on generating relevant income-generating opportunities for the participants, however little or no focus was given on facilitating women entrepreneurs’ critical-agency. Based on our findings, we argue that future research work aimed at operationalizing development-related needs of women entrepreneurs may prove difficult unless there is renegotiation of gendered division of domestic work. We believe NGOs could have impact in this aspect.