“Bitten by the entrepreneur bug” – critiquing discourses on women owner-managers/entrepreneurs in the Kenyan and Omani newspapers

Beldina Owalla*, Aziza Al Ghafri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: This paper aims to critically analyze media discourses on women owner-managers/entrepreneurs (OMEs) in the Kenyan and Omani newspapers. Design/methodology/approach: A critical discourse analysis is carried out on a total of 408 online media articles (174 articles from Omani newspapers and 234 articles from Kenyan newspapers) on women OMEs over the period 2010-2018. Articles are also classified based on their framing of women’s entrepreneurship. 

Findings: Five main categories of media discourses are identified, i.e. discourses on government/institutional initiatives; women OMEs’ dependency; women OMEs’ femininity; women OMEs’ societal impact; and normalization of women OMEs. These gendered media discourses and underlying assumptions further perpetuate women OMEs’ subordinate position in society, weaken their social legitimacy and trivialize their roles as managers and leaders in society. 

Research limitations/implications: The analysis was limited to online articles published in mainstream media. Future research could focus on offline print media from smaller media distributors or other distribution channels. Practical implications: Policymakers and media houses need to pay greater attention to the subtle mechanisms reproducing gender stereotypes. Women OMEs should also take a more active role in constructing their identity in the media. 

Originality/value: This paper highlights the underlying assumptions of media discourses regarding women’s empowerment that negatively impacts their social legitimacy. This paper also draws attention to media’s role in the trivialization of women OMEs’ leadership and managerial roles and subsequent marginalization of their social status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-551
Number of pages23
JournalGender in Management
Volume35
Issue number6
Early online date10 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • Framing
  • Gender stereotypes
  • Kenyan/Omani press
  • Media discourses
  • Women owner-managers/entrepreneurs

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