1st Edition

Women-Owned SMEs in Emerging Markets The Missing Link in Global Supply Chains

By Shabnam Shalizi Copyright 2022
    214 Pages 31 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    214 Pages 31 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book investigates women as business owners in emerging markets, documenting the structural difficulties they face as a result of their seeking access to global supply chains, and demonstrating the ways in which they are rewriting norms and challenging market assumptions.

    Although women own an estimated one-third of all small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in emerging markets, they are deeply underrepresented in global supply chains. In what the author refers to as the Women in Trade Deficit, women-owned enterprises earn less than 1% of all money spent on vendors by large corporations and governments worldwide. Drawing on an in-depth empirical investigation of a range of SMEs in Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Sri Lanka, this book investigates how women enter the supply chains of major global firms and multinational corporations and the challenges they face in doing so. Overall, the book argues that these business owners are rewriting norms and rearranging markets through networked enterprises to advance what the author calls prosocial industrialism.

    Whilst many studies focus on women at the micro-enterprise or laborer level, this book makes an important contribution to our understanding of their role at the helm of SMEs that trade internationally. As such, it will be of interest to researchers across business studies, economics, sociology, and development studies, and to donor agencies, policymakers, and the global private sector.

    Foreword by Manuel Castells

    Preface: Meet Fatima

    Chapter One: Introduction

    Chapter Two: Finding the Missing Link in Global Supply Chains

    Chapter Three: Women-Owned SMEs in Emerging Markets

    Chapter Four: Institutional Arrangements: Understanding, Reacting, and Adapting

    Chapter Five: International Standards and Procurement in Practice

    Chapter Six: Circumventing Boundaries Digitally and the Role of Trust

    Chapter Seven: Unpacking the Women in Trade Deficit

    Chapter Eight: Conclusion


    Shabnam Shalizi specializes in international development, inclusive growth, ESG, social impact and responsibility, sustainability, and performance measurement across corporations, governments, and international aid/donor organizations. With a background in management consulting, she completed her PhD at the University of Southern California.

    "This book is original as it deals with real-life cases of successful women entrepreneurs in emerging countries that managed to set themselves up in the international supply chain. Realistic as it goes deep into the hindrances facing female owners; optimistic, as it believes in the future role of women entrepreneurs; and it's a warm book as it takes a personal face-to-face approach in understanding female entrepreneurs' problems, inhibitions, strengths, and hopes."

    Alia El Mahdi, Professor of Economics, Cairo University, Egypt


    "Dr. Shalizi cuts across ideologies and misrepresentations of the real life of these women. To read this book is to enter the real world of development, a world of women seen and understood by a woman’s eyes…This book offers lessons and tools to go from experience to practice, helping women and their businesses to grassroot the global economy."

    Manuel Castells, Distinguished Professor and Scholar, University of Southern California, USA


    "A thought-provoking, rigorous, and vivid account of the strong and innovative women entrepreneurs in emerging markets and their potential for value creation across the global supply chains. A must-read for managers at multinational corporations, policy makers, academics, and anyone who works towards a more equitable global trade."

    Albena Pergelova, Department Chair of International Business and Associate Professor, MacEwan University, Canada


    "In an era where many organizations are expressing support for DEI efforts, this book effectively highlights both the opportunities women-owned SMEs offer to express that support through integration in global markets as well as the challenges they face to overcome entrenched obstacles that continue to stand in the way. As such, Shabnam Shalizi provides with this work deeply researched guidance on a way forward to a more inclusive and just global trading system."

    Ivanka Mamic, Senior Vice President for Sustainability, BP Corporation