Exploring the Lived Experience of Opportunities and Challenges Faced by Entrepreneurial Women of Rural Nepal
Baniya Badu, Nilam
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Nepal is a developing Asian country, and its economy is dependent on agriculture, tourism and foreign remittances. Nepalese women lag behind their male counterparts in all sectors, even though both genders are considered equal by the law. Deep-rooted patriarchal perceptions, stereotypical practices, unimplemented laws, illiteracy, and cultural and religious traditions adversely impact the everyday lives of Nepalese women. Women’s entrepreneurship is recognised as a crucial tool for economic growth, poverty reduction, and job creation of a country. However, women’s entrepreneurship has been seldom researched in Nepal and, further investigation and research on this topic is required to obtain relevant information and data. This thesis is an exploratory study that fills a gap in literature by adding scarce knowledge about lived experiences of women entrepreneurs of rural Nepal. It highlights differences on how entrepreneurship is practiced differently in developing countries when compared to developed ones. It also examines a unique perspective about rural entrepreneurial women residing in a male-dominated society. The purpose of this qualitative research is also to raise awareness about the complexity of their lives and also to encourage, support and promote their entrepreneurial activities. This research can help policymakers and organisations involved with women empowerment to support women and women entrepreneurs of Nepal. In addition, this study can also aid future studies. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eleven women entrepreneurs in a rural village of Nepal. They all started their enterprises to fulfil the basic needs of their families. Those women faced difficulties in their everyday lives because of their gender and the underlying poverty in the village. Cultural traditions, religious beliefs, patriarchal perceptions, lack of education, and migration of men and youths to the cities, adversely affected their everyday lives and their entrepreneurial journeys. Unreliable roads, frequent power outage, poor drinking water facilities, poor mobile networks, and a lack of mechanical tools and equipment decreased their efficiencies and increased their daily workloads. However, this study proved that these women, similar to western entrepreneurs, identified good opportunities, initiated their venture, and formulated a plan. This study indicated that education, training opportunities, financial access, and improved infrastructure are important to promote and empower women entrepreneurs of rural Nepal.