Mobile phones and entrepreneurial identity negotiation by urban female street traders in Uganda

Rachel Masika

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mobile phones have been posited as enhancing women's entrepreneurship and gender equality in developing countries, yet empowerment outcomes are unclear. This article considers how women in the gender-segregated informal economy construct their entrepreneurial identity in relation to mobile phones and the discursive repertoires that marginalize and empower. Using data from interviews with six urban female street traders in Kampala, Uganda, it explores how these repertoires illustrate their sense of self, positioning and belonging to the business community. Normative representations and positioning of female traders can sideline entrepreneurial identity and over-validate gender identity. But, participants also negotiate entrepreneurial identity construction in response to these marginalizing influences. Although the data demonstrate that participants are equivocal about their entrepreneurial identity or fit in business, some representations are more validating and offer a sense of belonging. The article concludes by highlighting the nuanced opportunities for social change their discursive repertoires may present.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)610-627
Number of pages18
JournalGender Work and Organization
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Masika, R. (2017) Mobile Phones and Entrepreneurial Identity Negotiation by Urban Female Street Traders in Uganda. Gender, Work & Organization, which has been published in final form at 10.1111/gwao.12184. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


  • entrepreneurial identity
  • female entrepreneurs
  • positioning
  • ideologies and scripts


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