Women entrepreneurs must be supported Zimbabwe Entrepreneurial Infrastructure Series
This article in the Zimbabwe Telegraph talks about how “social construction and family values have served to exclude women” from entrepreneurship. Basically women have been bracketed into the feminine role of homemakers and cannot break away from this stereotype into the male-dominated world of business. The article recognises that in many parts of the world, including Zimbabwe, in order for a woman to even make a start in business she must be supported (financially and within the community) by her brother, father or husband. For this to work the man must “play the supporting role,” which in traditional masculine societies can be a strain on the social norm. The article proposes that everyone in the family unit should work together to make a business a success, which will in turn benefit the family, or even the community as a whole. The author suggests that in Zimbabwe and other parts of Africa there is a need for policy change, including business training and networking, which will allow better opportunities for women, and equip them so that they do not need to rely on the support of a male relative. Without steps like these then gender empowerment in developing countries will never evolve and the social norms of women as the underdog in economic affairs will never be changed.