Female Entrepreneurship in Latin America and the Key Role of Informal Institutions in the Reproduction of Gender Asymmetries

Shahamak Rezaei*, Denise Helena França Marques

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


The aim of this chapter is to provide an overview of female entrepreneurship
in Latin American countries and to show how the environment, through
formal and especially informal institutions, influences the characteristics of
the business and to some extent limits the exploitation of opportunities by
women. Entrepreneurship addressed in the text consists of initiatives characterized by creativity, risks, use of available resources, and the ability to
generate wealth and change economic and social contexts, especially at the
micro level. The literature review showed how informal institutions,
impregnated by patriarchal and macho culture, shape and determine gender
relations in the world of work in the region, especially in business activities
conducted by women. Although the cases presented cannot be generalized to
all Latin American countries, they provide a small sample of the obstacles,
challenges, and limitations imposed on female entrepreneurs by the social
structure and its repeated practices consolidated in Latin American society.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Emerald Handbook of Women and Entrepreneurship in Developing Economies
EditorsShahamak Rezaei, Jizhen Li, Shayegheh Ashourizadeh, Veland Ramadani, Shqipe Gërguri-Rashiti
Number of pages18
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing
Publication date16 Jun 2021
ISBN (Print)9781800713277
ISBN (Electronic)9781800713284
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2021

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