The omnipresent community in the work-life experiences of women entrepreneurs in Ethiopia

M.L. van Engen, Konjit Hailu Gudeta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


The study investigates the community roles of women entrepreneurs in a traditional and developing country context—Ethiopia, where various social and/or community expectations on women are present. The study also tried to explore the interface between the various community roles of the women with their other life and work responsibilities. In depth interview was conducted with 20 women entrepreneurs in the capital Addis Ababa. Our analyses show that community holds a strong and omnipresent presence in the work-life experiences of the women entrepreneurs, constituting various roles such as the need to attending social events such as funerals (and resulting social engagements such as subsequent visits to comfort the bereaved), visiting the ill, fulfilling roles at community associations such as iddirs and so forth as social obligations that they cannot easily avoid. To a large extent, this makes such community roles as expectations to be fulfilled by the women rather than responsibilities chosen by the women to participate in. The study also shows the time-bound nature of most of these roles, create a challenge for the women in their effort to combine their work and home responsibilities as they interfere with their pre-planned activities. This interference is found to be bidirectional as work and family responsibilities also pose challenge and force the women to avoid participating in some of the social roles as well as fail meeting certain community expectations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWork-family balance, technology, and globalization
EditorsM. Las Heras, N. Chinchilla, M. Grau
Place of PublicationNewcastle
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publication
ISBN (Electronic)9781527502826
ISBN (Print)1-4438-7337-3
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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