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Title:Vehicles for Change and Empowerment: Urban Women's Organization in Nigeria and Zimbabwe
Author:Osirim, Mary J.
Periodical:Scandinavian Journal of Development Alternatives and Area Studies
Geographic terms:Nigeria
Subjects:women entrepreneurs
small enterprises
women's organizations
Women's Issues
Urbanization and Migration
Development and Technology
Abstract:Women microentrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa have benefitted from women's organizations, ranging from informal networks to more formal nongovernmental (NGO) and governmental associations, which assist them with credit, training, employee referrals, and management development. However, not all of these groups benefit women microentrepreneurs equally. This article explores some of the various types of organizations that offer support for women in small and microenterprises in southwestern Nigeria and in Zimbabwe (Harare and Bulawayo). Based on fieldwork among over 160 women in business, as well as among the leaders of NGOs and State organizations, the author examines to what extent select groups have provided women microentrepeneurs with access to information and resources that would enhance the functioning of their enterprises, the security of their families, and their contributions to national development. The research findings suggest that poor and low-income businesswomen have benefitted most from women's informal networks and their own efforts to create associations that address their class needs, as well as more formal organizations that are ideologically committed to advancing their concerns and include their meaningful participation. With the exception of the People's Bank of Nigeria, State organizations in Nigeria and Zimbabwe rarely meet the needs of low-income businesswomen. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum.