Facilitating affective experiences to stimulate women’s entrepreneurship in rural India

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12 Scopus citations


Purpose: This paper aims to understand the nature of affective experiences that can help women to overcome perceived socio-cultural constraints and stimulate entrepreneurship. The paper focuses on rural poor women in India as they represent cultural contexts rich with impediments while also presenting an opportunity for socio-economic development. Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative study with interpretative phenomenological analysis was conducted with participants from women-owned and -managed crafts-based cooperative entrepreneurial ventures from the state of Bihar in India. Findings: Cooperative form of entrepreneurship and sisterhood among its members provides an environment for repeated affective experiences that inspire women to change the status quo. Sisterhood facilitates interactions with role models, mentee-driven mentoring and vicarious incentives, each producing positive affect, whereas cooperatives provide a work environment that fosters equality and helps women find their unique voice, generating affect. Together, the affect allows women to overcome fears associated with deviating from age-old traditions while engaging in entrepreneurial behaviors and sustaining them. Research limitations/implications: The paper advances knowledge on women entrepreneurship for non-Western cultural contexts, particularly the environments and experiences that stimulate entrepreneurship. The values of cooperative form of entrepreneurship and the homophily among sisters creates an environment which is relaxed and comfortable, where affective experiences can be naturally embedded in daily routines in contrast to those created through formal-structured training programmes. The paper findings are limited to cultural contexts of rural women in eastern states of India with high levels of poverty. Practical implications: Policies for cooperative entrepreneurship and grassroots support to facilitate an environment to foster cooperatives’ values, and sisterhood can lead to affective experiences necessary for change that endures. Originality/value: Entrepreneurship for pervasive social change, such as alleviating rural women from poverty, needs theory development, particularly a better understanding of the influence of macro socio-cultural contexts on women’s ability to be entrepreneurial. This paper provides an understanding of contextually relevant affective experiences conducive for rural women entrepreneurship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-288
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 17 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Domestic commitments
  • Incompetence
  • Mobility
  • Role models
  • Sisterhood
  • Systemic subordination


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