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Women's Entrepreneurship in the GCC Countries

Special issue call for papers from International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship

Call for papers

Women’s entrepreneurship in the GCC countries

The attainment of gender equality and the empowering of women and girls constitute one of the objectives of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A very strong normative component is inherent in this imperative. Arguably, cultural factors delineate the actual scope of actions undertaken to implement this objective by the UN member-states. Similarly, socio-political circumstances define the set of tools that can and will be employed by decision-makers to attain those objectives.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries constitute a very interesting case in the context of this debate (Constant, 2016; WB, 2017) for three key reasons: (i) developments in respective countries have been under-discussed in the academic literature, (ii) stereotypes obscure objective insights into respective developments and, thus, frequently preclude sound judgment of developments on the ground, and finally, (iii) the scope of socio-economic transition that unfolds in the GCC countries these days is so vast that very little of what we thought we knew about that region still holds. As gender equality and women empowerment return to contemporary mainstream debates (OECD, 2017), it is imperative to look anew at respective developments in the GCC countries. This prompts a number of important questions: Can women’s entrepreneurship serve as levers to achieve greater gender equality and at the same time contribute to sustainable development? Can women’s entrepreneurship serve as a fundamental lever in the process of empowering women? How do we equip women with the mindset and skills necessary to exercise the spirit of entrepreneurship?

The question of women’s entrepreneurship is by no means a new topic (Landstrom & Lohrke, 2010). It was incorporated into the debate in the late 19th century, and has been simmering under the surface of other debates pertinent to the process of modernization of western societies ever since (OECD, 2012). Today, as the topic returns (Morton et al., 2014; Faisal, Jabeen & Kotsioloudes, 2017), daunting statistics reveal that gender inequalities across the globe, i.e. including the developed, emerging and developing markets, have not been effectively addressed, and diverse forms of gender-based discrimination and exclusion proliferate (ILO, 2009; OECD, 2017). Clearly, steered by laudable initiatives by the United Nations and the International Labour Organization, considerable progress has been attained in research on diverse forms of gender inequality worldwide (Adema et al., 2014; de Oliveira & Jabbour, 2017). Despite important policymaking strategies being implemented in recent years, much more needs to be done, particularly in a pro-active way, i.e. by including female talent in processes leading to innovation as well as in entrepreneurship (Sarfaraz, Faghih & Majd, 2014). As the GGC countries seem to have a clear plan related to empowering women toward economic development, it is timely to examine the specific strategies these countries seek to implement.

Going beyond the obvious argument that woman and girls cannot be excluded from any sphere of society, the objective of this Special Issue is to query the processes and the practices of the day-to-day efforts aimed at empowering women in the GCC countries. This Special Issue examines strategies that aim at reifying the purposeful agency of women in the GCC countries so as to allow them to help themselves as greater gender equality is sought. Special emphasis is paid to business contexts and business practices as they begin to adapt to the imperative of a greater degree of women’s engagement and gender equality. By encouraging research and collecting high-quality contributions on topics inserting themselves in this broadly defined research-field, this Special Issue seeks to encourage well-grounded, academic scholarly debate on topics pertinent to the scope of the journal, relevant to international and regional communities, and yet not only under-discussed but also obscured by stereotypes and misunderstandings.


The Editors of this Special Issue seek papers addressing, but not limited to, the broader rationale and objective of the Special Issue, as discussed above. Contributions bringing together conceptual approaches and practical considerations are particularly welcome. Potential topics include:

•    Female entrepreneurship: strategies, policy-actions, case studies
•    Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and women’s entrepreneurship
•    Vision 2030 of the Kingdom of the Saudi Arabia and women’s entrepreneurship
•    Empowering women: norms, legal frameworks, social institutions, financing facilities
•    Education, entrepreneurship and women’s empowerment, incl. blended, ICT-enhanced approaches
•    Data-driven policymaking for women’s empowerment, innovation and international business
•    Gendered-entrepreneurship
•    Comparative insights
•    Case-studies
•    Conceptual approaches


All papers should be submitted through the journal’s ScholarOne online submission website Complete information about the journal, including author instructions, review criteria, procedures and submission templates, are available at

All submissions must abide by the journal’s requirements, and the journal’s standard double blind review processes will be followed for the review of submissions. During the online submission process, please indicate that your submission is intended for this special issue. There will be a prompt for this at the submission website.


Submission of Manuscripts:  15th February 2019
Notification of First Review Decision: 30th April 2019
Expected Publication:  End 2019/Early 2020

Guest Editors:

For any questions about the special issue, including questions about the relevance/suitability of a planned submission, please contact one of the Special Issue Editors:

Dr. Anna Visvizi 1,2, [email protected]
Dr. Miltiadis Lytras 1,2, [email protected]
Dr. Akila Sarirete 2, [email protected] 

1 The American College of Greece, Athens Greece
2 Effat University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia


Adema, W. et al. (2014) Enhancing Women’s Economic Empowerment through Entrepreneurship and Business Leadership in OECD Countries, Paris: OECD, [2018-04-15].

Constant, S.M. (2016) Paving the way for women’s economic inclusion in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): main report (English) [GCC engagement note] Washington, D.C.: World Bank Group. [2018-04-15].

Faisal, M.N., Jabeen, F., Katsioloudes, M.I. (2017) ‘Strategic interventions to improve women entrepreneurship in GCC countries: A relationship modeling approach’,  Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies,  9(2): 161-180,

ILO (2009) ‘ILO Tools for Women's Entrepreneurship Development’, in: ILO, Women's Entrepreneurship Development and Gender Equality, Geneva: International Labor Organization (ILO), [2018-04-15]

Landstrom H., Lohrke F. (2010), Historical Foundations of Entrepreneurship Research, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Morton, M., Klugman, J., Hanmer, L., Singer, D. (2014) Gender at work : a companion to the world development report on jobs, Washington, DC : World Bank Group. [2018-04-15].

OECD (2012) OECD Council Report: Gender Equality in Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship, Paris: Final Report to the MCM 2012 Meeting of the OECD Council at Ministerial Level, Paris: OECD, May 2012.

OECD (2017) Report on the Implementation of the OECD Gender Recommendations - Some Progress on Gender Equality but Much Left to Do, Final Report to the MCM 2017 Meeting of the OECD Council at Ministerial Level, Paris: OECD,  May 2017,

Puppim de Oliveira, J.A., Chiappetta Jabbour, C. J., (2017) ‘Environmental Management, Climate Change, CSR, and Governance in Clusters of Small Firms in Developing Countries: Toward an Integrated Analytical Framework’, Business & Society, 56(1): 130–151

Revenga A, Sudhir S (2012) ‘Empowering women is smart economics’, Finance & Development, 49(1):40.

Sarfaraz, L., Faghih, N. & Majd, A.A. (2014) ‘The relationship between women entrepreneurship and gender equality’, Journal of Global Entrepreneurship Research, 2(6): 1-11.

WB (2017) ‘Why Supporting Women’s Economic Inclusion is Vital for the GCC’, Feature Story, September 29, 2017,