Manchester Metropolitan University's Research Repository

    Changing gender relations in small businesses: experiences of women entrepreneurs of Pakistani origin in Greater Manchester

    Mirza, Asma Aziz (2013) Changing gender relations in small businesses: experiences of women entrepreneurs of Pakistani origin in Greater Manchester. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.


    Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

    Download (1MB) | Preview


    This PhD contributes to the growing body of literature on South Asian women’s entrepreneurship in general, and on women of Pakistani origin in particular. The literature on the latter is comparatively scarce, and research on South Asian women’s entrepreneurship tends to overlook heterogeneity among these women. The research provides useful insights into Pakistani-origin women’s progress into and experiences of small business. An important contribution of this study is to develop new knowledge of Pakistani women’s diverse entrepreneurial roles and strategies in various business environments, such as, home-based, family and independent enterprises. The research draws theoretical insights from Brah’s multi-level framework and the ‘mixed embeddedness’ approach to conceptualise participation of women of Pakistani origin in small business. The analyses illustrate that gender practices and power relations in the family had an impact on Pakistani-origin women’s acquisition of human capital, access to resources and control of their labour, which subsequently affected their ability to exercise power and control in the family and business. The categories of business ‘leaders’ and ‘labourers’ shows that women’s business roles and experiences were diverse and embedded in complex and interwoven contexts, i.e. social, cultural, spatial, material and familial. A few of the businesses managed to ‘break out’ of the ethnic, spatial and sectoral boundaries. However, many others were strongly embedded in the existing ethnic structures. By and large, women’s business roles and performance were determined by their ability to accrue human capital, access to resources, command and control of their labour and ability to exercise power and control. The gender regimes of Pakistani families, communities and the wider British society not only determined performance of women’s business, but also transformed gender relations in many ways. An empowerment matrix I devised depicts changes in gender relations and levels of empowerment through participation in small business. Observation on levels of empowerment was mixed, which is depicted through: positive change/full empowerment, moderate change/empowerment, no change/status quo maintained and negative change/lessening of power.

    Impact and Reach


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics for this dataset are available via IRStats2.

    Repository staff only

    Edit record Edit record