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Abstract

Women in Africa are poorer, less educated, and enjoy less access to jobs and opportunities than men. While that is true for women around the world, the situation in contemporary Africa appears deeper. Earlier neo-classical economists viewed women as irrational economic agents, but boosted by the intellectual activities of feminist economists that highlighted the gender bias of mainstream economics. The aid and development agencies such as the World Bank and UNDP have committed to poverty reduction by embracing and strengthening the idea of holistic human development to eliminate gender-related inequality. The concept is well spelt out in the national/regional policy frameworks and international development declaration such as Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). Consequently, the growing contributions of women entrepreneurs to economic development are increasingly recognised. In South Africa, the government has endeavoured to boost development through public policies and strategies that focus on women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship. Therefore, cognizant of proximate similarities between South Africa and Brazil, this paper examines gendered policy approaches and initiatives by their governments to advance entrepreneurship development. The study relied heavily on reputable secondary sources from government publications, journal articles, books and publications from professional bodies. The study findings provide insights into gaps in building sustainable women entrepreneurial and development activities. The findings also show a need for a gendered transformational entrepreneurship using a holistic and process-orientated approach. The study concludes that existing government platforms for women entrepreneurs are crucial for addressing national developmental challenges by providing learning grounds and complementary growth paths through the introduction of gender-sensitive and sustainable approaches for entrepreneurship.

Note on the Author

Obianuju (Uju) E. Okeke-Uzodike is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Management Sciences, Durban University of Technology (DUT), Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. She holds an MBA degree from ESUT, Business School, Lagos, Nigeria and a Ph.D degree in Management from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Uju is a young and emerging researcher with special interest in the area of Management Sciences. Her research activities are two-pronged: effective mobilization of human resources, and human capacity building most especially in the areas of women’s empowerment. She has made a number of presentations at international and local academic conferences.

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