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University of Huddersfield (2020)

Women Entrepreneurship Development in Egyptian Rural Context : A Structuration Perspective

Elkafrawi, Nermin Mohamed

Titre : Women Entrepreneurship Development in Egyptian Rural Context : A Structuration Perspective

Auteur : Elkafrawi, Nermin Mohamed

Université de soutenance : University of Huddersfield

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2020

Résumé partiel
This research explores the dynamic relationship between Egyptian rural women entrepreneurs and their context, investigated through the real-life experience of these women. The structuration perspective and more specifically its stronger version (SST, Strong Structuration Theory) is the main theoretical lens applied to understand the complex reciprocal relationship between women entrepreneurs and their rural context and how women, as active agents, affect and are affected by their context i.e. structure. The quadripartite framework suggested by Stones (2005) is used to reflect this dynamic relationship.

A qualitative inductive approach is used to collect data, using semi-structured interviews with women and other stakeholders. Thematic analysis identified the challenges and opportunities facing rural women entrepreneurs, their characteristics and their external structure. Given Egypt‘s unstable political and economic conditions since the 2011 revolution, this research provides a unique opportunity to explore rural women as entrepreneurs from a realistic base that simultaneously considers both the agent i.e. woman entrepreneurs and the structure i.e. rural context, in the analysis.

This thesis offers theoretical, methodological and conceptual contributions. The theoretical contribution is presented through contextualising rural women entrepreneurship in Egypt ; viewing rural women entrepreneurs as active agents who largely affect their context, and yet are inseparable from it. The research shows how women‘s personal characteristics, including flexibility and social skills, play a key role in helping them adapt rapidly to the fluctuating conditions of their hard lives. Findings also highlight how Egypt‘s current unstable political and economic conditions have changed the social rural structure. In a different vein, this thesis succinctly identifies various discrepancies and wide gaps between what is realistically needed to support rural women entrepreneurs based on their views and experience, and the actual facilities provided by different stakeholders. This confirms that Egyptian rural women entrepreneurs suffer from constrained performance rather than under-performance, and that the external structure with its restrictive norms is the main barrier to achieving their full entrepreneurial potential.


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