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Women’s entrepreneurship in the Global South: Empowering and emancipating?

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Article number87
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>3/11/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Administrative Sciences
Issue number4
Number of pages22
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper addresses the questions; to what extent are women entrepreneurs empowered by entrepreneurship and critically, does entrepreneurship offer emancipation. Our theoretical position is that entrepreneurship is socially embedded and must be recognised as a social process with economic outcomes. Accordingly, questions of empowerment should take full account of the context in which entrepreneurship takes place. Our argument is that institutions, formal and informal, cultural, social, and political create the gendered contexts of the Global South where women’s entrepreneurship is subjugated; treated as inferior and second class.
Our thematic review of a broad scope of the literature demonstrates how, in the different parts of the Global South, women entrepreneurs confront the many impediments and how this shapes their practices. We show how the interplay of tradition, culture, and patriarchy seem to conspire to subordinate their efforts. Yet we also recognise how entrepreneurial agency chips away and is beginning to erode these bastions. In particular, how role models establish examples that undermine patriarchy.
We conclude that entrepreneurship can empower, but modestly and slowly. Some independence is achieved, but emancipation is a long slow game.