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The gendered effects of entrepreneurialism in contrasting contexts

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Malin Tillmar
  • Helene Ahl
  • Karin Berglund
  • Katarina Pettersson
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>14/09/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places
Issue number5
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)808-828
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date16/08/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Purpose: Contrasting Sweden and Tanzania, this paper aims to explore the experiences of women entrepreneurs affected by entrepreneurialism. This study discusses the impact on their position in society and on their ability to take feminist action. Design/methodology/approach: This paper analysed interviews conducted in the two countries over 15 years, using a holistic perspective on context, including its gendered dimensions. Findings: The results amount to a critique of entrepreneurialism. Women in Sweden did not experience much gain from entrepreneurship, while in Tanzania results were mixed. Entrepreneurialism seems unable to improve the situation for women in the relatively well-functioning economies in the global north, where it was designed. Research limitations/implications: In mainstream entrepreneurship studies, there is a focus on the institutional context. From the analysis, it is apparent that equal attention must be given to the social and spatial contexts, as they may have severe material and economic consequences for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship. The paper raises questions for further studies on the gendering of markets in different contexts, as well as questions on the urban-rural dimension. Practical implications: In Sweden, marketisation of welfare services led to more women-owned businesses, but the position of women did not improve. The results strongly convey the need for a careful analysis of the pre-existing context, before initiating reforms. Originality/value: The paper adds to the understanding of context in entrepreneurship studies: Africa is largely an underexplored continent and contrasting North and South is an underexplored methodological approach. This paper further extends and develops the model of gendered contexts developed by Welter et al. (2014).