Abstract: (WITHDRAWN) Accidental Opportunities? Women in Family Businesses Taking the Lead in a New Market Economy (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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322P (WITHDRAWN) Accidental Opportunities? Women in Family Businesses Taking the Lead in a New Market Economy

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Doris Boateng, Ph.D., Lecturer, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana
Background and Purpose: This research describes the ways in which women in family businesses in Accra, Ghana have identified, and leveraged opportunities presented by structural, cultural, socio-economic and technological changes to ensure the success of their businesses. While women’s involvement in family businesses have also engaged scholars of diverse backgrounds, not much research has been done in the field of social work with a social justice approach. For women entrepreneurs in Ghana, generally and those in family businesses specifically, some socio-cultural factors persist to hinder their abilities to promote and sustain their businesses. This accounts for the largely unsuccessful empowerment interventions and persistent gender inequalities in the country.

Methods: The study employed a qualitative research design in its approach. Fifteen women in family businesses were recruited mainly through purposive and snowball sampling techniques. Information was solicited through in-depth interviews (IDIs). A semi-structured interview guide was developed with open ended questions which allowed respondents to tell their stories from their own perspectives. With permission from the participants, all interviews were audio recorded for later transcription. Interviews were conducted in English language, and each interview lasted an average of 45 minutes. All the interviews were one-on-one sessions except for one, in which a mother was interviewed with her daughter at the same time. The recorded data was later transcribed verbatim from audio to text in preparation for data analysis. Data was analyzed for themes and sub-themes which are used in the writing of the paper.

Results: Findings of the study indicate that women in family businesses in Accra, Ghana have creatively identified and made use of the changing socio-cultural and economic landscape of the country to promote their businesses. This paper highlights three main movements that have been significant in business growth and success and in turn led to economic empowerment for women in family businesses in Accra, Ghana. the three movements are: advent and increasing use of social media, innovative business practices and weakening patriarchy. The findings are discussed with pertinent literature as the backdrop.

Conclusions and implications: The research highlights how Ghanaian women entrepreneurs in family businesses are responding to the changing dynamics of family businesses in a new market economy. Although social work promotes individual and collective empowerment in diverse societies, these opportunities often depend on the dominant culture and environmental contexts that are available. In Ghana, there continue to be systemic and socio-cultural barriers that hinder women entrepreneurs from expanding and competitively running their businesses like their counterparts in other developed countries. Identifying and highlighting more of opportunities such as have been done in this research to women in other fields will ensure business growth, success and sustained development.