Call for Chapters for “The de Gruyter Handbook of Women Entrepreneurs in Emerging Markets”



Professor Helle Neergaard, Aarhus University, Denmark  –
Associate Professor Maribel Guerrero, Northumbria University, United Kingdom – 
Dr. Breda Kenny, Munster Technological University, Ireland – 
Professor Friederike Welter, IfM, Bonn and University of Siegen, Germany – 

The objective of this book is to present the state-of-the-art of women’s entrepreneurship in emerging markets.

The role of women entrepreneurs in economic development and growth

It is commonly agreed that women-owned businesses constitute one of the fastest-growing entrepreneurial populations in the world, and that they make significant contributions to entrepreneurial activity and wealth creation in all economies (Brush et al., 2009) in terms of i) new job creation and ii) gross domestic product (Ayogu and Agu, 2015). According to Rae (2015), this has a positive impact on both poverty reduction and social exclusion. However, on a global scale, significantly fewer women than men own and operate a business (Elam et al., 2019), and this gap widens as the level of development of a country increases (Coduras and Autio, 2013), possibly because as economies improve the state develops social and welfare systems that tend to encroach on areas such as health and education, in which women traditionally start businesses. Further, whilst women’s businesses tend to be smaller and have slower sales and employment growth than those owned by men, women’s economic empowerment tends to lead to wealth creation, job creation, better health and education outcomes for themselves and their families, increased participation in decision-making in and outside the home, poverty alleviation, improved living standards, and overall well-being.

In the past, there has been a tendency for scholars to focus on developed countries and project results from these contexts to developing country contexts and assume similarity. The growing research interest in women’s entrepreneurship in developing countries is probably due to the role that entrepreneurship plays in the economic development process (Minniti and Naudé, 2010). However, one size does not fit all and increasing research on developing countries and emerging markets published in the past decade illustrates that context matters. Indeed, the characteristics and role of women’s entrepreneurship vary across countries.

In addition, there also seems to be a higher prevalence of women’s entrepreneurship in developing countries. However, this might be due to involuntary or necessity entrepreneurship rather than opportunity entrepreneurship (Perry et al., 2007). This is a challenge to quantify or value because when entrepreneurship is born from necessity, it often yields financial outcomes that may not be sufficient for an individual, never mind a family, to subsist from.

From the literature we know that women-owned businesses face obstacles in developed economies, but we know much less about the issues they are facing in emerging economies. Furthermore, there is a scarcity of evidence on how many women-owned and managed enterprises participate in international trade, what type of products/services they export or what barriers discourage women from entering international markets (International Trade Centre, 2015). There is indeeda substantial lack of studies that explore women’s entrepreneurship in an emerging economy context.

This book intends to fill this void. Having said that, it is not so much the intensity of activity but how specific contexts and the entrepreneurialism of women interact in emerging economies that we find interesting. We therefore intend to focus on a variety of ‘contexts’—broadly defined as outlined below—and organized into a number of theoretical streams that can also be interpreted as contexts. 


According to Baker and Welter (2020), context plays an ever-increasing role in entrepreneurship research because it determines a number of dimensions such as space, time, practice, and change. Rather than context being ‘out there’, it is rather something that entrepreneurs ‘do’ and interact with—they are not only shaped by their environment, they also shape their environment according to the morphogenetic approach (Archer, 1995). Indeed, context in terms of place plays a role in shaping who the entrepreneurs are (Baker and Welter 2020). This means that culture, heritage, community and history are important elements of place. For example, Culture involves (i) the practices, norms and values that determine how value creation is perceived and evaluated within specific communities; and (ii) the performative processes by which cultures emerge, transfer and constantly change. Heritage is understood as all the conditions of resources inherited within a spatial formation including (i) material conditions, (ii) political structures of dominance (iii) technologies and infrastructure, and (iv) industries, buildings and ruins. Community is constituted by any self-defined group of people, who see their mutual belonging to the community as distinguishing but not excluding them from other members of society. Entrepreneurial community building transcends essentialist community formations based on ethnicity, nationality and gender. History is interpreted as a reservoir of knowledge and relics in terms of past events and experience that may be combined and used in various manners in entrepreneurial activities. Further, following a morphogenetic approach, there is a reciprocal effect on how context impacts women’s entrepreneurship (Welter, 2020) as well as how women’s entrepreneurship can impact and enact their contexts which suggests that context is also gendered. Thus, emerging markets constitute contexts that matter in terms of diversity in women’s entrepreneurship.

Defining emerging markets

An emerging market/economy is usually described as an economy characterized by low-income but rapid growth that is utilizing economic liberalization as the primary engine of growth (Crittenden and Crittenden, 2012). Thus, one cannot equate a developing country with an emergent economy, although Mody (2003) argues that an emerging market economy is strongly related to a developing nation (i.e., liquidity, equity, trade volume, foreign direct investment, and regulations) becoming more engaged with global markets as it grows. In this view, the emerging economy transition patterns are from pre-industrial to a modern economy with better living standards. Although there is little consensus in the academic literature on which countries qualify as emerging markets, according to the Standard and Poors’ index, the emerging market economies include Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, and Turkey. Although it is important to have some clarity as to what constitutes an emerging market, this list excludes certain markets that we would also consider as emergent, hence, we do not want to limit potential contributions to the markets mentioned above. We also welcome cross-country or historical studies on women’s entrepreneurship in these markets.

There are obviously many issues that are associated with entrepreneurship in emerging markets. For example, women in emerging markets may experience social stigma, gender inequalities and inabilities to achieve a work-life balance, or obtaining access to resources, notably financial resources (Kamberidou, 2020).  These issues are intricately woven together with the themes of this issue.


COVID-19 constitutes a very specific context. The analysis of women entrepreneurship in emerging markets takes special relevance in the COVID-19 era in at least two ways. First, women entrepreneurs are generally prevalent in ‘non-essential’ sectors that have been strongly affected by the multiples waves and lockdowns. Therefore, it would be interesting to investigate how women entrepreneurs in emergent markets have fared during the COVID-19 crisis and which support policies/programs have been implemented. Second, women entrepreneurs could show more/fewer attitudes and emotions toward resilience and persistence than male entrepreneurs enrolled in similar sectors. In this view, it is interesting to investigate how to change taboos or legitimize the role of women entrepreneurs during external shakeouts.


The following lists potential themes.

i) rural entrepreneurship
ii) social entrepreneurship
iii) sustainable/green entrepreneurship
iv) growth entrepreneurship
v) academic entrepreneurship
vi) technology entrepreneurship
vii)  cultural entrepreneurship
viii) minority entrepreneurship
ix) family entrepreneurship (succession, mother daughter, gender issues)
x) entrepreneurship education and training
xi) international entrepreneurship

The book will contain approximately 24 chapters. A chapter should be 6-8000 words, including references.

Scheduling details

Please submit extended chapter abstracts of circa 1,000-1,500 words to Professor Helle Neergaard at with a copy to Vibeke Vrang . If you would like to informally discuss a possible contribution, then please contact Professor Helle Neergaard. Please note that we will ONLY accept proposals for which the data collection has already been completed.

–     Extended chapter abstracts (5 pgs): ca. 15 May 2021
–     Preliminary acceptance: ca. 1 June 2021
–     Chapter drafts deadline: ca. 1 November 2021
–     Reviews and feedback: ca. 1 February 2022
–     Revised chapters: ca. 1 May 2022
–     Second feedback: ca. 1 June 2022
–     Full manuscript: ca. 1 September 2022
–     Final delivery date: ca. 15 October 2022


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Kamberidou, I (2020) Distinguished women entrepreneurs in the digital economy and the multitasking whirlpool. Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship 9:1, 3.

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Welter, F and Baker, T (2020) Moving Contexts onto New roads: Clues from other Disciplines. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 1-22.

Emerging Market Index:



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