Inclusive Innovation and Women's businesses
This PhD research examines how inclusive innovations tailored to support women’s businesses through the use of ICT affect and benefit female entrepreneurs. Departing from feminist economic thinking it specifically addresses the gap in analysis between the significance of gendered structures in socio-economic contexts in which entrepreneurs operate and understanding how outcomes of innovation in general affect lives and businesses in Africa.
How do Inclusive Innovations equip female entrepreneurs with new resources to overcome gendered constraints at household level and construct the life and business that she wants to live well?
Where and when do inclusive innovations as presumed ‘win-win’ scenarios overcome gender inequalities and actually expand female entrepreneurs’ access and control over resources?
Or where and when do they mostly serve economic growth with little to no longer term benefits to women themselves?
ICT based innnovations
Examples of the ICT based inclusive innovations studied are mobile banking services, mobile business advisory services, online investment match-making schemes, online business networks and online market places. Frugal Innovations may play an important role within this research seeing that a significant part of the ICT based initiatives in Africa result from product and service development in a resource constrained environment.
PhD Researcher Saskia Vossenberg is particularly interested in understanding changes at the level of the household, marriage and the business, leading her to the question
“How can inclusive innovations affect perceptions about gendered routines, work divisions, time allocation, mobility, decision-making authority and the provision of emotional and practical support?”
Photo - CreativeCommons: Ken Banks, kiwanja.net