Women Entrepreneurs in the Indian Informal Sector: Marginalisation Dynamics or Institutional Rational Choice?

International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 3, No.1, pp. 6-22, 2011

17 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2015

See all articles by Colin Williams

Colin Williams

University of Sheffield - School of Management

Anjula Gurtoo

Indian Institute of Science

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

Purpose -- Studies on women entrepreneurs either read women through a structuralist lens as marginalised populations engaged in low quality work or through a neo-liberal lens as engaged in relatively higher quality endeavour more as a rational choice. The aim of this paper is to evaluate critically these various explanations in relation to the informal sector women entrepreneurs in India.

Design/methodology/approach -- To evaluate the contrasting explanations of structuralist and new liberal approaches, questionnaire surveys were conducted in two phases, namely 2007 and 2010, over a period of several months. The sample design was stratified random and the sample was taken from a range of cities in different parts of India. Findings -- Survey of 457 women entrepreneurs of the informal sector show that although the structuralist representation is largely appropriate for women working as waged informal employees, it is not so valid for women informal entrepreneurs working on a self-employed basis. The results challenge the traditional understanding of the informal sector, and women self employed in particular, and are discussed in the light of the institutional rational choice framework.

Research limitations/implications -- The analysis highlights how the decision of entrepreneurship does not stand in isolation from other decisions and choices, is in line with normative considerations, and is a collective rational choice for the informal sector women entrepreneurs. This analysis is a first of its kind and calls for additional surveys to be undertaken of women (and men) informal entrepreneurs in other countries to establish this thought.

Originality/value -- The analysis critically evaluates established explanations in relation to the informal sector women entrepreneurs through an empirical survey and establishes new explanations on women entrepreneurship.

Keywords: self employed women, entrepreneurship, informal economy, institutional rational choice, India

JEL Classification: H26, J46, J48, K34, K42, O17

Suggested Citation

Williams, Colin and Gurtoo, Anjula, Women Entrepreneurs in the Indian Informal Sector: Marginalisation Dynamics or Institutional Rational Choice? (2011). International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 3, No.1, pp. 6-22, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2703021

Colin Williams (Contact Author)

University of Sheffield - School of Management ( email )

15 Conduit Road
Sheffield, S10 1FL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/management/staff/williams/index

Anjula Gurtoo

Indian Institute of Science ( email )

Bangalore, IN Karnataka 560012
India

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
68
Abstract Views
529
rank
368,460
PlumX Metrics