Abstract

The global recognition of the economic importance of women entrepreneurship (Brush, de Bruin & Welter, 2009) has resulted in various initiatives to promote women’s entrepreneurial activities worldwide. In Tanzania, women are viewed as playing a key role in economic development, resulting in various government initiatives aimed at increasing their participation in the private sector (Nkirina, 2010). However, as in many societies where women go against cultural values and attitudes to become entrepreneurs (Carter, Marlow & Bennett, 2012), the patriarchal attitudes in Tanzanian society continue to subordinate women’s societal position, and create obstacles for women entrepreneurs (Ellis et al, 2007; Moori, 2014). The socio-cultural context contributes to the construction of entrepreneurial identities by providing cues that either enhance one’s sense of belonging, or that create conflicts with the newly acquired identity (Donnellon, Ollila & Middleton, 2014). Societal perceptions can therefore be viewed as contributing to women’s entrepreneurial identities. One way of determining these perceptions is by analyzing media representations and discourses about women entrepreneurs. Building on previous research on media representations, this paper contributes to our understanding of how the representation of women entrepreneurs in Tanzanian press contributes to their entrepreneurial identities.

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