Arab Women Entrepreneurs in Spain: Like Cedars Beside the Stream
29 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2017
Date Written: February 29, 2016
This paper presents the results of a qualitative study designed to give a "voice" to women entrepreneurs in Spain who come from different backgrounds but are united by their Arab roots and common culture. The purposes of the present study are twofold: (1) to add to scarce research on women entrepreneurs regarding the role of the macrosocietal values and traditions and (2) to understand better the dynamics of the Arab world as they relate to women entrepreneurs and Islam, specifically the implications of gender roles and work (Gray and Finley-Hervey, 2005). We study these questions in the Spanish context, where a renewed entrepreneurship culture is being revived, partly as a result of the economic crisis that started in 2008. In a related vein, the intersectionality of different influences that converge on the entrepreneurial impulse is a conglomerate of Islamic values and gender negotiations within the Spanish context. We seek to explore notably different aspects that characterized our sample - that is, the main factors that influence Arab women in their path to entrepreneurship: self employment as a real means for women to engage in the labor market (Faveri et al., 2015) and as an invaluable tool for agency and empowerment (EBRD, 2015); entrepreneurship as a way to procure the involvement of Arab women in the public space; and finally, formal and informal features that contextualize the entrepreneurial activity of this particular immigrant group in Spain. Case study research via semistructured interviews has been the methodology used for this investigation. Thus, we conducted some interviews that shed light on important information and we have found through our analysis that the main formal and informal factors in this matter are the educational level, personal ambition, the implications of family commitments, economic necessity and social and cultural patterns. The last three factors are the ones that are intrinsically linked to the Arab women studied in our research. All these issues are addressed in depth in our paper, with which we expect to contribute to the debate of gender roles and women's economic dimension by means of entrepreneurship.
Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Arab Women, Empowerment, Stereotypes, Patriarchy, Family Entanglements
JEL Classification: M13
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