Here is the research work of Anastasia-Alithia Seferiadis, PhD in Transdisciplinary Sciences, as part of our weekly series Les Papiers de la Fondation, articles written by the researchers that the Foundation supports at the end of their research year. The Papiers de la Fondation, scientific articles of around twenty pages, present the results of their work in the form of working papers. They are written according to academic criteria for specialised or non-specialised audiences, in order to make the knowledge thus created accessible to all interested people and to allow for a broad debate.

Les Papiers de la Fondation: disseminating research and fostering debate

“The sociology of the actor-network applied to women’s social entrepreneurship: the case of emerging women entrepreneurs in Ghana”

Anastasia-Alithia SEFERIADIS, PhD in Transdisciplinary Sciences, LPED (IRD/Aix-Marseille université), TDTC (CSIR)


In order to analyze how are innovating novel economic modes of action of female social entrepreneurship in Ghana, the sociology of the actor-network is applied. With a feminist perspective is questioned how develops a specific constellation of actor-networks of social entrepreneurship that reproduces or emancipates from gender stereotypes and discriminations. The article analyzes 31 qualitative interviews, two focus-group discussions (including a questionnaire carried out with 39 social entrepreneurs).

The results indicate a strong promotion of social entrepreneurship in Ghana by development actors, both institutional actors from the North and local intermediary actors linked to actors from the North. This promotion transforms the system and leads some women to requalify their NGO as a social enterprise, however, commercial expectations appear as strong brakes, with many companies generating no financial income. On the other hand, the dominant discourses describe these women as driven, innovative and passionate, which is typified by the image of the “lioness of Africa”, according to the name of a website that identifies and puts forward strong women: game-changer who contribute to the development of their continent.

In this context of the great narrative of female social entrepreneurship as a factor of development, women entrepreneurs take ownership of the social entrepreneurship promotion system and of the image of the lioness of Africa. With companies often waiting, due to a lack of time or money, the competition prices as well as the recognition of the various actors, constitute not only a financial capital, but also a symbolic capital. Thus, emerging social entrepreneurial women in Ghana are developing forms of resistance within the market, in order to develop a career that allows them both to support themselves (sometimes through employment in another sector) and to develop solutions to societal and environmental problems.

Key Words: women, entrepreneurship, economy, development, Ghana.

Crédit photo : ©EU-ECHO / Anouk Delafortrie