PurposeThe purpose of this study is to explore the potential of women’s entrepreneurship to bring about greater gender equality. Understanding women’s entrepreneurship as a gendered process (Bird and Brush, 2002), the study presents the challenges encountered by women entrepreneurs as a result of gender ideologies. It documents structural barriers, discriminatory interactions and oppressive gender scripts and their effects on the women and their businesses. Acknowledging women’s possibilities for agency and resistance, the study analyzes how women entrepreneurs conform, contest or negotiate gender scripts and constraints, and looks at the consequences of these actions.Design/methodology/approachDrawing from elements of social interactionism and the doing and undoing gender theories, the authors use a feminist theoretic framework to guide analysis of qualitative data from two focus groups conducted with 19 women entrepreneurs in Colombia.FindingsGender ideologies were manifested in the forms of interrelated structural barriers that restricted women entrepreneurs’ access to resources. Social interactions represented spaces in which gender ideologies were reinforced, but also spaces women used to produce changes through resistance and accommodation strategies. Entrepreneurship was associated with positive changes toward greater gender equality, although negative consequences were reported.Research limitations/implicationsDue to the limited sample, more studies across countries may be needed for the consolidation of a generalizable theoretical framework.Originality/valueThis study presents a feminist theoretic framework in dialogue with the lived experiences of women entrepreneurs. It observes the processes of change toward gender equality embedded in business development.
International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 20, 2017
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