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Change Makers? Women's Microenterprises in a Bolivian City


Eversole, R, Change Makers? Women's Microenterprises in a Bolivian City, Gender, Work and Organization, 11, (2) pp. 123-142. ISSN 0968-6673 (2004) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1468-0432.2004.00225.x


If entrepreneurs are society's innovators, what is the role of businesspeople in poor countries - particularly, the 'micro' businesspeople that make up the majority? What hope for decreasing poverty and improving livelihoods do microbusinesses offer? In particular, what is the role of women microentrepreneurs, whose incomes have been understood to contribute a great deal to the well-being of poor households? This paper is based on case studies collected in the late 1990s in Sucre, Bolivia, a context in which many women are the owners of independent microenterprises. Women in Sucre control a range of microenterprises in the commerce, production and service sectors and are recognized as businesspeople by their spouses, families and people in their community. Under such conditions of 'empowered' business ownership, what is the potential of these businesses to decrease poverty? The study explores the business experiences of women microentrepreneurs, their priorities, entrepreneurial abilities and the obstacles they face. It suggests the kinds of business activities which women in Sucre are most likely to undertake and the income levels which these activities generally attract. Finally, it indicates that, while women in Sucre can control resources and take advantage of opportunities as businesswomen, other constraints mean that most women's businesses have only a limited ability to decrease poverty. 'Microenterprise development' alone is insufficient to address the complex relationships affecting how these women and their households access resources. © Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2004.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Gender studies
Research Field:Gender studies not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Community services
Objective Field:Gender and sexualities
UTAS Author:Eversole, R (Professor Robyn Eversole)
ID Code:43752
Year Published:2004
Web of Science® Times Cited:22
Deposited By:Institute for Regional Development
Deposited On:2007-06-28
Last Modified:2011-09-15

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