| 13.04.2022

Doctoral defence: Entrepreneurship drives emancipation

U-länders kvinnor frigörs av företagsamhet
There is an urgency to make progress on building a more equitable and inclusive society, especially in the developing countries. New research suggests that social entrepreneurship programmes aimed at encouraging women’s entrepreneurship are particularly valuable in promoting social change.

In her doctoral dissertation entitled “Social Change and Well-Being: Perspectives of Women Entrepreneurs in a Social Entrepreneurship Program” Ira Chatterjee directs attention to the role of social entrepreneurs in tackling grand challenges and resolving societal problems.

“Besides economic empowerment, women’s entrepreneurship promotes the emancipation of women and has ripple effects on communities and countries, making training programmes offered by social entrepreneurs a powerful driver of progressive social change”, says Ira Chatterjee.  

However, change initiatives that tackle entrenched, culturally inherited issues—such as those of patriarchy—can be divisive leading to change that is often contentious and short-lived. In such situations, it is important that social entrepreneurs garner the support of the community, including the oppressors, by understanding problems from the perspectives of the people affected by them and by empowering individuals at the grassroots to take ownership of change.

“In my research I found that to bring about social change that is less disruptive and more sustainable, you should present the problem in a way that aligns with the local culture, so that the community can see how the change initiative benefits them. You should also embrace local solutions and involve local communities; resolving the ‘big’ problems begins with ‘small’ solutions”, Ira Chatterjee points out.

In her study, Chatterjee shows how in developing and emerging economies, where women face the combined effect of barriers relating to their gender, economic status and social class, carefully crafted practices and programmes empower illiterate grandmothers who become solar engineers and businesswomen, cheered on by the local community.

You can read the doctoral thesis in full here.

The public defence will be held virtually, with Professor Johanna Mair acting as opponent and Professor Joakim Wincent as chair. You can join the Teams meeting via this link. The link will go live at 15.00 on 19 April 2022.

Contact details:
Ira Chatterjee
E-mail: ira.chatterjee@hanken.fi