Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The impact of gender norms on female work choices and entrepreneurship in Kenya
Author: Giusti, Giovanna de
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2011
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
The thesis investigates the impact of a society's prevalent gender ideology on women's work decisions and entrepreneurial choices, in the context of Kenya. It begins by setting up a conceptual framework that accounts for the role of gender institutions, which integrates contributions from institutional and behavioural economics and social psychology. Using a nationally representative database I test a set of econometric models of occupational choice. Measures of gender institutions include conventional proxies (like religion and ethnicity), but also innovative proxies like female circumcision, son preference, and gender parity in education. The results show that traditional gender role attitudes are important determinants of women's decisions to work and affect their choice between working within and outside the house. In order to bring into the analysis the impact of social norms on individual women, I also introduce exogenous indexes of personal autonomy, which I construct on the basis of theoretical work on female empowerment and employing different methodologies (namely, as summary indexes and as principal component analytical measures). One interesting result is that women who have higher decisional power may not prefer working, and this result stimulates a reflection on feminist and development literature that assumes that female work is instrumental to women's liberation in any context. Primary data collected during field work are used to test another set of econometric models, which analyse specific entrepreneurial decisions (diversification and formality), and business earnings. The results suggest that differently from men, women who diversify have top educational levels and run relatively good businesses. I argue that women may prefer diversifying because they lack control over the assets needed to expand the existing activity, and because their primary concern may be survival rather than growth. Formality of female firms depends on ability to keep regular accounts and create networks, which may provide capital but also knowledge and information. Finally, while whether women diversify and formalise depend upon gender institutions, how much they earn from the businesses depends (as for men) on purely economic resources.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available