The purpose of this paper is to examine how and to what extent social enterprise can contribute to improving women's life in Hungary.
The case study was based on a four-month organizational ethnographic study of a café. Participant and non-participant observations were supplemented with interviews with the founder, the manager, visitors and informal conversations with the staff and visitors. Social media communication was also reviewed.
The empirical results from the organizational ethnography allowed us to gain insights into the impact of the investigated organization on its target group, young mothers, in a post-socialist gender context. The dominant post-socialist gender regime has remained almost entirely untouched and the outcome of the operation of the social enterprise only helped women to accommodate their everyday life to their disadvantaged social situation.
While previous studies have uncovered the dualistic nature of social enterprises, this analysis shows that an award-winning and popular social enterprise in Hungary could nevertheless only minimally influence the social situation of women. In spite of the good intention of the owner, the all-encompassing prescribed gender roles are hardly questioned, and consequently, women's situation hardly ameliorates.
The author is grateful to the members of the Corvinus University of Budapest Social Innovation Research Group, especially György Pataki and Julianna Kiss, for their professional support in writing this article.Funding: This research was supported by the project nr. EFOP-3.6.2-16-2017-00007, titled Aspects on the development of intelligent, sustainable and inclusive society: social, technological, innovation networks in employment and digital economy. The project has been supported by the European Union, co-financed by the European Social Fund and the budget of Hungary.
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