The impact of gender on entrepreneurial activities in a developing country: focus on the Central Business Centre of Ghana

Sarah Ofei Agyemang, Dina Nziku (Contributor)

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Purpose of the Paper: Researchers in this paper intend to critically investigate the role of gender towards business success in the context of developing countries. Recent studies indicate that, Ghana has more women than men entrepreneurs due to flexibility which allows women to start-up as well as look after their families (Dzisi, 2008). Despite this, men are more successful in businesses than women in Ghana. Following the Voices of Women Entrepreneurs in Ghana, (2016) the situation was said to be caused by women having more responsibilities than men as they balance family, work and have difficulty in accessing credit. Furthermore, Carter et al (2001), found women owned businesses to have lower sales turn over, fewer employees and women generally being more afraid of taking risk.

Despite these setbacks, some women still tend to take certain risk in entrepreneurship even to the extent of venturing into male dominated industries. However, the gender-bias usually found in entrepreneurship goes further to assume that all successful businesses are owned and run by men (Nilsson, 1997; Ogbor, 2000). Yet there are women most particularly in industries run by men, who are standing tall and succeeding in these fields.

Therefore, the question is, how did they manage to break into such male dominated industries, and perform so well, taking into consideration the patriarchal nature of our society. Ours is one in which social gender roles are clearly defined so how do these women cope as entrepreneurs in these hot spaces?

Thus, Bourdieusian Capital Theory by French socialist, Pierre Bourdieu is employed to drive this inquiry. Emphasizing the sociability of resources (capitals) which are seldom recognized in economic theories, Bourdieu (1986), argues that the capital drawn upon by agents presents itself in four forms namely Economic, Social, Cultural and Symbolic Capital. Therefore, the Bourdieusian capital theory would be used in the investigations of the strategies undertaken by successful women entrepreneurs who have been able to sustain their competitive advantage over their male counterparts in male dominated industries in Ghana.

Design and Methodology: This study would adopt a mixed method approach where both qualitative and quantitative methods would be employed. Large sample of entrepreneurs from the Central Business Centre which is called Okaishie in Accra, Ghana will be employed in this research. Questionnaires would be used to gather demographic data of participants. This will be followed by one to one interview with semi-structured questions.

Study Limitations: This research might face some constraints during the process that might be together with access to information. Lack of access to information is not only due to lack of empirical work done in the context of Africa but also the willingness of targeted sample in providing response. This is together with some delays in translation of the local dialects to English before transcribing information gathered.
Practical Implications: Researchers in this study intends to be provide recommendations for government policies in developing countries; specifically, in Ghana and most of the sub-Sahar African countries. This study also is believed to add in the pool of little knowledge and empirical studies being conducted on gender the developing countries; with valid recommendations for further studies.

Social Implications: Researcher in this study believes that, women entrepreneurs in the context of Ghana seems to be more disadvantaged. This is mostly being caused by not only culture and traditions of the community but also government perception towards women. This makes majority of women entrepreneurs to struggle in obtaining start-up capital for their businesses while relying more on financial assistances from the family and friends as well we their close social ties (roles of social networks). Thus socially, women would have more confidence to take risks in business.

Originality/Value of the Paper: The originality of this paper lies on the empirical nature and the rich information that will be gathered from both primary and secondary data. Researchers intends to use the study findings to develop a novel framework to be used in improving success rate of entrepreneurial activities done by women within the country. This is together with the use of Bourdieusian capital theory for empirical study of women entrepreneurs in the context of Ghana.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2021
Event3rd Rethinking Female Entrepreneurship Conference - University of St Andrews, St Andrews, United Kingdom
Duration: 20 Jan 202121 Jan 2021


Conference3rd Rethinking Female Entrepreneurship Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CitySt Andrews
Internet address


  • gender
  • male dominated industry
  • entrepreneurship
  • Ghana
  • capital


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