ANSO Tuesday Seminars
Kristen Mcneill is Assistant professor in anthropology and sociology

Gendered Narratives of Entrepreneurship in Colombia

Kristen McNeill, Geneva Graduate Institute
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Room A1A, Maison de la paix, Geneva Graduate Institute

The ANSO Tuesday Seminar series is organized by the Anthropology and Sociology department at the Institute to discuss global questions from ethnographically-informed perspectives.

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Gendered Narratives of Entrepreneurship in Colombia

Research from around the world shows that entrepreneurship tends to be associated with masculinity, to the detriment of women entrepreneurs. On the other hand, microcredit -- the provision of small loans without collateral to microentrepreneurs -- has a disproportionately female clientele. In this work in progress, Kristen McNeill and Danae Román García use interviews and written reports from loan officers at a Colombian microcredit provider to examine how loan officers resolve the tension between masculine norms of entrepreneurship and the provision of credit to women entrepreneurs. We find that in justifying the approval of credit, loan officers are more likely to reference women's families as motivation for their economic activity relative to men, and more likely to frame their businesses as born from economic necessity rather than from passion or ideas. As a result, while microcredit does provide financial access to many women who would otherwise lack it, the lending process also reproduces rather than challenging prevailing gender norms.


About the Speaker

Kristen McNeill's research interests center on social drivers of economic and financial behaviors, gender inequalities, and international development, and she uses mixed qualitative and quantitative methods. Her current research in the context of microlending examines how nominally gender-neutral processes governing access to financial resources can be profoundly gendered in practice.


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