Research Social and Behavioral Sciences

Three dissertations on removing obstacles for women entrepreneurs in Africa

Three women PhD students finalized their dissertations on entrepreneurship in Ethiopia and will defend their theses on the 3rd of July. Their research was supported by the Netherlands organization for international cooperation in higher Education (NUFFIC). 27 % of the female population in Sub-Saharan Africa is engaged in entrepreneurship and in some countries the percentage is at an equal level as men.

However, working women face more obstacles than men because of lack of access to funds, prejudices etc and because they combine caring tasks for family, community with work. These three studies recommend more awareness of the situation of these women, for instance when measures like microcredits are taken to help them.

Konjit Hailu Gudeta points out to the fact that women who do not fulfill their community duties, will not receive the same support when their own family is suffering from a crisis. These interruptions in their work however make it hard for them to participate in business. Therefore women entrepreneurs have to manage their multiple tasks very well. Since the husbands do not lend a helping hand, women entrepreneurs sometimes hire domestic support or a nanny. This support can also help to alleviate stress between husband and wife. Other managing solutions are moving closer to work and communicating on expectations of role demands.

Atsede Tesfaye Hailemariam concludes that to understand the opportunities and challenges of the socio-economic and cultural contexts is important for policy makers in order to support the women entrepreneurs. For example, the Micro Credit Projects demand an amount of savings and prioritize enterprises involved in export, manufacturing and construction sectors. The measurements do not take in account the women entrepreneurs’ limited financial autonomy as well as their choice of a sector. Support that takes in account the needs of women for autonomy, relatedness and competence in entrepreneurial activity will empower women to contribute to wealth and well-being.

Belaynesh Tefera Nidaw studied the subject of women (and children) with disabilities in Ethiopia. They have severe difficulty participating and succeeding in education, employment, and motherhood because they suffer from prejudices which even affect their health and care. She suggests that involvement of the wider community and support for families with children with disabilities is necessary in order to obtain a good quality of life.

The three students will defend their theses on 3 July 2018. Konjit Hailu Gudeta at 16.00 hours, her thesis is entitled: Managing boundarylessness between work, family and community: The experiences of Women Entrepreneurs in Ethiopia. Atsede Tesfaye Hailemarium at 14.00 hours, her thesis is entitled: Women Entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Self-Determination Theory Perspective. The Case of Ethiopia. And Belaynesh Tefera Nidaw at 10.00 hours, title of the dissertation: The grace of a fulfilling life: Social inclusion in valued roles of women and children with disabilities in Ethiopia.

Location (all three): Ruth First Zaal at Tilburg University. Promotoren: prof. dr. Marc van Veldhoven, Dept. Human Resource Studies, Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences (Gudeta & Hailemarium) en prof. dr. Jac van der Klink, Tranzo, TSB (Nidaw). For more information, you may contact spokesperson Tineke Bennema, e-mail: tel. 06-19678521;