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“Bitten by the entrepreneur bug” – critiquing discourses on women owner-managers/entrepreneurs in the Kenyan and Omani newspapers

Beldina Owalla (Management School, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)
Aziza Al Ghafri (Department of Industrial Economics and Management, KTH – Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 10 June 2020

Issue publication date: 20 July 2020




This paper aims to critically analyze media discourses on women owner-managers/entrepreneurs (OMEs) in the Kenyan and Omani newspapers.


A critical discourse analysis is carried out on a total of 408 online media articles (174 articles from Omani newspapers and 234 articles from Kenyan newspapers) on women OMEs over the period 2010-2018. Articles are also classified based on their framing of women’s entrepreneurship.


Five main categories of media discourses are identified, i.e. discourses on government/institutional initiatives; women OMEs’ dependency; women OMEs’ femininity; women OMEs’ societal impact; and normalization of women OMEs. These gendered media discourses and underlying assumptions further perpetuate women OMEs’ subordinate position in society, weaken their social legitimacy and trivialize their roles as managers and leaders in society.

Research limitations/implications

The analysis was limited to online articles published in mainstream media. Future research could focus on offline print media from smaller media distributors or other distribution channels.

Practical implications

Policymakers and media houses need to pay greater attention to the subtle mechanisms reproducing gender stereotypes. Women OMEs should also take a more active role in constructing their identity in the media.


This paper highlights the underlying assumptions of media discourses regarding women’s empowerment that negatively impacts their social legitimacy. This paper also draws attention to media’s role in the trivialization of women OMEs’ leadership and managerial roles and subsequent marginalization of their social status.



The authors would like to thank Carin Holmquist for her insightful comments and suggestions on an earlier version of the paper. We are also grateful for the comments from the two reviewers.


Owalla, B. and Al Ghafri, A. (2020), "“Bitten by the entrepreneur bug” – critiquing discourses on women owner-managers/entrepreneurs in the Kenyan and Omani newspapers", Gender in Management, Vol. 35 No. 6, pp. 529-551.



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