Compared with male entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs in Ethiopia have a lower stock of all of the resources of symbolic power: economic, cultural, and social capital. Based on interviews with 23 women entrepreneurs in Addis Ababa and more than twenty other individuals in the NGO, government, and private sector development space, I identify four key challenges facing women entrepreneurs. I argue that entrepreneurship development programmes that focus on building women’s business networks have significant potential to change the balance of power between men and women in the Ethiopian business community, primarily because they allow women to leverage increased social capital (Bourdieu 1984) to achieve greater economic and cultural capital as well. I also find that male family members serve as an important form of social capital for women entrepreneurs, allowing them to access information and traditional male business networks.
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