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Not How but Why: Exploring the historical, structural and institutional factors that contribute to gender gaps in entrepreneurship and innovation in sub-Saharan Africa

Female business ownership is economically important in developing countries, for instance because female-owned micro- and small enterprises can have a more significant impact than male-owned MSEs on employment as well as overall household welfare and consumption. It is therefore surprising that the scholarship on female entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa is thin. The limited research tends to agree about the existence of gender gaps in entrepreneurship. However, most scholars and practitioners focus on the gaps and ignore the underlying drivers. This limits the relevance of research results and the resulting policies. The way forward is to stop scrutinizing the differences between men and women in entrepreneurship and innovation, and rather focus on understanding the contextual factors that contribute to the gender gaps. Using the Iceberg Theory, I aim in this research to explore the historical, cultural and institutional roots of gender gaps in entrepreneurship in SSA. Rather than ask how women differ from men in terms of business formation and success, I am interested in why gender gaps exist in the first place. This, in the spirit of SDG 5, will help shape policies to reduce gender inequality particularly in economic activity.


Fellows involved in this project

Iso Lomso Fellow

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Is any information on this page incorrect or outdated? Please notify Ms. Nel-Mari Loock at [email protected].