Having Nothing and Giving Much: Sub-Saharan African Women Entrepreneurs Thriving in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Bridget Irene, Dina Nziku, Cynthia Forson, Atsede Tesfaye

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceedingpeer-review

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The COVID-19 pandemic has been a profound shock to societies and economies, highlighting society’s dependence on women at home and on the front line while revealing systemic disparities in every sector This situation is heightened in the context of women in the Global South, given the nuanced gender roles and patriarchal societies in the region. In times of crisis when resources are stretched and there is limited organisational capacity, women face inordinate impacts with far-reaching consequences. Therefore, responding to a crisis involves not only addressing long-standing inequalities but also creating a resilient environment for everyone. This research explored the narratives of women in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) entrepreneuring in a crisis, in a context of relativity and scarcity where the burden of care and support for the community falls on women. It aims to tell the stories of women that form a coherent sense of self-worth, allowing them to integrate recognisable changes to adapt to disruptions caused by the pandemic while remaining pillars of strength for their families and communities. This qualitative research adopts a narrative inquiry approach involving inquiry directed at accounts of human experiences. The study sample includes women entrepreneurs from seven SSA countries. The findings indicate that in the face of the pandemic, SSA women entrepreneurs were pillars not only to their families but also to their employees and extended families.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBritish Academy of Management 2022 Proceedings
PublisherBritish Academy of Management Conference
Number of pages11
Publication statusSubmitted - 31 Aug 2022
EventBritish Academy of Management Conference 2022 - Alliance Manchester Business School, Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 31 Aug 20222 Sept 2022


ConferenceBritish Academy of Management Conference 2022
Abbreviated titleBAM 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Women entrepreneurs
  • Thriving
  • Covid-19
  • Crisis


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