From the Margins to the Centre
: A Feminist Intersectionality Perspective of Jua Kali Rural Women Entrepreneurship in Kenya.

  • Tabitha Sindani

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Drawing upon a feminist intersectionality perspective, this study investigates the influence of context on Jua Kali rural women entrepreneurial activity in Kenya. The notion of context in this study implies the social, institutional, and spatial contexts. The overarching objective is to bring forth evidence that will deepen knowledge and expand the understanding of women’s entrepreneurship in the Global South context. As such, the study investigates Jua Kali rural women entrepreneurial experiences by considering what motivates them to venture into Jua Kali, how they make sense of their entrepreneurial experiences and outcomes, and the contextual challenges they encounter in Jua Kali. Underpinned by an interpretivist research paradigm, the study draws on observation data captured in fieldwork photographs and in-depth interviews with forty Jua Kali women entrepreneurs from Vihiga and Kisumu counties and six policy makers from the County government trade and gender departments. The findings reveal the heterogeneity of entrepreneurial motivations that push rural women into Jua Kali, and noneconomic rewards and non-financial outcomes of their entrepreneurial participation, these findings extend the critical entrepreneurship debate to challenge the functionalist paradigm of entrepreneurship for wealth creation and profit maximisation that is too often typified in mainstream entrepreneurship discourse. The findings also illustrate institutional contextual constraints presented in how the infectiveness of enterprise policy disadvantages rural women’s entrepreneurial activity, as well as various spatial-related contextual challenges facing rural women in Jua Kali marketplaces. These findings extend the feminist economic geography literature on the gendering of ‘place’ and entrepreneurship as a thoroughly gendered and geographic process. This study makes a theoretical contribution to intersectionality by revealing the simultaneity of gender, class, and space intersecting with a myriad of other contextual constraints and categories of difference to influence women’s entrepreneurship. The research implications for policy are mainly in relation to enterprise, urban planning, and taxation policies, and improvement of informal marketplaces infrastructure.
Date of Award14 Jul 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Roehampton
SponsorsRoehampton University Business School
SupervisorCarole Elliott (Director of Studies), Cecile Guillaume (Co-Supervisor) & Mayra Ruiz Castro (Supervisor)


  • rural women’s entrepreneurship
  • place
  • Jua Kali
  • gender
  • intersectionality perspective
  • feminist
  • Kenya
  • context

Cite this