SOCIAL CAPITAL IN WOMEN LED

Date
2011-05-05
Authors
ZONGE, PATIENCE
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Abstract
This study explores the implications of social capital for micro and small enterprises owned by women in the rural district of Chimanimani in Zimbabwe. With entrepreneurial activity being recognized as largely socially embedded, the aim of the study is to unravel the gender dimensions to social capital and how these manifest on rural women owned small businesses. A qualitative approach was taken in this study, the study site being Chimanimani, a rural district in the east of Zimbabwe. With social capital being associated with social networks, norms and values, the findings of this study suggest that there are gender dimensions to social capital which determine women’s access to, the level of and quality of their participation in social networks. This in turn influences the outcomes accruing to them as a result of their social capital. The existence of gendered norms and values in the community under study that largely constrain women’s choices and freedoms was concluded as confining women to smaller networks, which are dense and not diverse enough to be able to attract wider resources towards enhancing their enterprises. Women’s network activity was also seen to be limited with access to more powerful networks and positions of influence within networks largely seen to be the preserve of men. This again was seen as contributing to limited opportunity broadening for women led enterprises. Thus in as much as popular social capital literature widely acclaims the beneficial nature of social capital in enhancing economic activity; this study strongly suggest that social capital experiences and outcomes are amongst other things a function of gender with women’s participation in network activity not necessarily translating to the accrual of net benefits for their enterprises
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MM - P&DM
Keywords
Social capital , Micro enterprises , Small businesses
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