Empowerment of Zimbabwean Women through Entrepreneurship an Economic and Social Perspective

Stephen Nhuta, Ellen Mukumba

Abstract

The objectives of the study were to identify socio-economic characteristics of female entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe and to ascertain the relationship between women empowerment in entrepreneurship and economic/social development. The research looked at economic and social independent variables that affect women empowerment in entrepreneurship. Literature covered but not limited to, power in households, decision making, ownership of property, access to capital, networking and freedom of movement. This study adopted a mixed research methodology that combined the positivism and the interpretivism paradigms. With regard to this study, the target population was the female entrepreneurs in Harare, Zimbabwe. Non-probability was chosen as the sampling technique for this study because it is quicker, easier and cheaper. Convenience and judgmental sampling techniques shall were employed. The questionnaire was used to collect primary data for this study.The study revealed that married female entrepreneurs continue to be absent from the household decision-making that shapes the allocation of the economic and financial resources, which further perpetuates gender inequality.  The study also confirmed that education and training as well as previous work experience are important success characteristics for empowerment, required by emerging female entrepreneurs as they start and grow their business. The study also confirmed that the lack of access to capital exacerbated by lack of collateral and high interest rates is one of the major deterrents for empowering women through entrepreneurship. Recommendations include coalition among female entrepreneurs, mentoring schemes and changing entrenched patriarchal cultural norms.

Keywords

Female Entrepreneurship, Women’s Marginalization, Gender Inequality, Empowering

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