What is it about?

Studies on women entrepreneurs either view women through a structuralist lens, as marginalised populations engaged in low-quality work, or through a neo-liberal lens, as engaged in relatively higher quality endeavour more as a rational choice. The aim of this paper is to evaluate critically these explanations in relation to women entrepreneurs in the informal sector in India.

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Why is it important?

To evaluate the contrasting explanations of structuralist and neo liberal approaches, questionnaire surveys were conducted in two phases, namely 2007 and 2010, over a period of several months. The sample design was stratified random and the sample was taken from a range of cities in different parts of India.The survey of 457 women entrepreneurs of the informal sector shows that although the structuralist representation is largely appropriate for women working as waged informal employees, it is not as valid for women informal entrepreneurs working on a self-employed basis. The results challenge the traditional understanding of the informal sector, and self-employed women in particular, and are discussed in the light of the institutional rational choice framework.

Perspectives

The analysis critically evaluates established explanations in relation to women entrepreneurs in the informal sector through an empirical survey and establishes new explanations on women entrepreneurship.

Professor Colin C Williams
University of Sheffield

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This page is a summary of: Women entrepreneurs in the Indian informal sector, International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, March 2011, Emerald, DOI: 10.1108/17566261111114953.
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