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  • 1.
    Tillmar, Malin
    Linköping University.
    Gendering of commercial justice: experience of self-employed women in urban Tanzania2016In: Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, ISSN 1750-6204, E-ISSN 1750-6212, Vol. 10, no 1, p. 101-122Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose– Women’s entrepreneurship is often seen as the solution of both economic growth and gender equality. This is despite academic knowledge of the gendered preconditions for entrepreneurship in many contexts. This paper aims to focus on the gendering of commercial justice, a precondition for entrepreneurship. Informed by gender perspectives on women’s entrepreneurship and previous studies on commercial justice in East Africa, this paper sets out to explore the experiences of urban women entrepreneurs.

    Design/methodology/approach– The paper is based on an interview study with women entrepreneurs and representatives of support organizations in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. The interviews were conducted in Kiswahili, and access was enabled through dialogues with local partner organizations such as the Tanzanian Chamber of Commerce.

    Findings– Findings are that with formal legal rights, the informal institutions imply that the marital status of the women, and the attitude of their husbands, is the overarching determinants for the commercial justice perceived as available to them. This has implication for many policy areas, such as entrepreneurship support, women’s empowerment and labour market policy. Theoretically, the findings highlight the importance of studying the informal institutions affecting women’s entrepreneurship around the globe. Concerning commercial justice in particular, three dimensions of gendering are identified.

    Research limitations/implications– The paper is based on a qualitative interview study. Further studies with varying methods are needed to further explore the gendering of commercial justice in Tanzania, East Africa and beyond.

    Practical implications– A major practical implication of the study is the insight that business for development, will not automatically lead to business for equality, on a general level. The gender bias is also reproduced in everyday business life, for example, thorough access to commercial justice. Special measures to target the gender equality issue are, therefore, necessary. Another implication of the findings regard the importance of Alternative Dispute Resolution initiatives, affordable to women small and medium enterprise-owners.

    Originality/value– While other obstacles to women’s entrepreneurship in the developing contexts have been well explored, the gendering of perceived commercial justice has not received sufficient attention in previous studies. Studies applying a gender theoretical perspective on entrepreneurship in the explored context are still needed.

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