Log in

Create a user profile using your existing professional profile on LinkedIn, Academia, or ResearchGate.

Alternatively, register a username and password to start an account.

By creating an account you will be able to contribute articles, engage in discussion groups, network with fellow professionals and businesses, and receive interest-related alerts.

Forgot Password

Please enter your email address below and you will receive a temporary link to re-activate your account

Gendered Spaces of Informal Entrepreneurship in Soweto, South Africa

Article image

Richard Grant

11 April 2013


Township Studies Librarian Two

Journal article

Township Studies Group

South Africa

The full diversity of economic activities in the informal economy is not well understood. The apartheid legacy of limiting informal entrepreneurship explains the most obvious geographical patterns in South Africa. After a decade and a half since the end of apartheid, however, knowledge about the places from which informal entrepreneurs operate is incomplete. Retailing is overemphasized and production firm entrepreneurs, both male and female, remain a neglected spatiality. This study reports on a survey of 100 firms in Soweto and in-depth interviews with 30 firm owners. The findings challenge the representations of isolated urban entrepreneurs dependent on inherited social capital and of women’s exclusive engagement in retail. Entrepreneurs create their own social capital in work-related realms, but there are important gender differences. More finely tuned conceptualizations of entrepreneurs and of gendered working spaces need to be developed so that policy does not perpetuate unitary myths and incomplete spatial representations.


Website References



Human settlements

Informal settlements


Poverty & inequality

South Africa

Township Studies Group

Township economies


View Contributors:


No comments available