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Women tourism entrepreneurs: doing gender on farms in Sweden

Katarina Pettersson (Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden)
Susanna Heldt Cassel (School of Technology and Business Studies, Dalarna University, Borlänge, Sweden)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 29 October 2014




This paper aims to explore how gender is “done” on farms in Sweden in the context of increased tourism and hospitality activities. The authors seek to investigate how gender is done vis-à-vis women’s farm tourism entrepreneurship. They seek to answer the questions: What has motivated the farm women to become tourism entrepreneurs? How are the gendered divisions of labor changed through women starting businesses? How does the gendered associated symbolism, as well as the identities, change?


Research has indicated that introducing tourism entrepreneurship at farms may challenge established gender relations, as many of these entrepreneurs are women. The empirical material consists of in-depth interviews with 15 women farm tourism entrepreneurs in central Sweden.


The analysis suggests that the gendered divisions of labor are not changed through the interviewed women starting tourism businesses. The authors conclude that the women build their entrepreneurship and develop some of their products on an image of rural domesticity, including a representation of themselves as traditional farm women. At the same time they are changing how gender is done through identifying as entrepreneurs and changing the use of the farms.


The authors seek to fill the research gap concerning women’s farm tourism entrepreneurship and the potential associated gendered changes. Their theoretical contribution is applying the perspective of “doing gender” and entrepreneurship, for delineating potential changes in gendered relations.



The authors wish to thank the women interviewed for this article and the anonymous reviewers and editors for inspiring and helpful comments and suggestions, and Stiftelsen Lantbruksforskning, SLF, for financial support. The research project, which the article is part of, has been placed at the Nordic research institute Nordregio.


Pettersson, K. and Heldt Cassel, S. (2014), "Women tourism entrepreneurs: doing gender on farms in Sweden", Gender in Management, Vol. 29 No. 8, pp. 487-504.



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