© 2013

Gender and Entrepreneurship in Iran

Microenterprise and the Informal Sector

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Roksana Bahramitash
    Pages 1-20
  3. Roksana Bahramitash
    Pages 21-42
  4. Roksana Bahramitash
    Pages 73-100
  5. Roksana Bahramitash
    Pages 149-170
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 189-223

About this book


Iran is estimated to have the third largest informal sector in the MENA region a major source of income for many low-income households whose numbers are growing as sanctions tighten. Gender and Entrepreneurship in Iran provides insight into the role of informal networks in employment creation in Iran from a gender perspective. Drawing upon theories of social capital, social network, and the postcolonial feminist critique of mainstream development, this analysis sheds light on the ways in which poverty and unemployment may be tackled.


capital economy employment entrepreneur Entrepreneurs Entrepreneurship network networks social capital

About the authors

Roksana Bahramitash is Visiting Scholar at the University of Montreal, Canada, with the Canada Research Chair of Islam, Pluralism and Globalization. She is a sociologist who earned her PhD from McGill University and has focused on social justice and poverty from a gender perspective. She previously worked as Faculty Lecturer on 'Women in the Muslim World' at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Concordia University, Canada, as well as other courses at McGill University, Canada. Originally from Iran, she was active after the Iranian Revolution in literacy projects among peasant women.

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Finance, Business & Banking


"Dr. Bahramitash's book is skillful, exceptionally intelligent, well-thought through, clear, and graceful. Her commitment to social justice and connecting community level analysis to the larger global context is commendable. Bahramitash meticulously studies the informal economy in Iran and skillfully brings the gender dimension to her analysis. She gives a voice to women who are leaders, care givers, care takers and financial contributors to their families and communities but yet are invisible, un-acknowledged, and under-valued. She combines the unique skills of a sophisticated theoretical thinker with the multi-level techniques of a participant observer and a social scientist." - Elhum Haghighat, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science, Lehman College, City University of New York, USA

"Bahramitash's unique field research among working women in Iran provides invaluable insights into the role of low-income women who work as entrepreneurs in the large informal sector of Tehran and other major cities. The data challenges fundamental stereotypes about women and work in Iran and presumably other Muslim countries." - Eric Hooglund, Professor, Lund University, Sweden; Editor, Middle East Critique

"An impeccable researcher, Bahramitash weaves together theoretical critique and extensive fieldwork to shed light on the little-explored world of women who work in Iran's informal sector. Her analysis of this invisible but powerful economy should be read by development economists, gender researchers, and all who study and care about the millions engaged in informal employment throughout the developing world." - Diana Strassmann, Carolyn and Fred McManis Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Humanities and Director, Program on Poverty, Justice, and Human Capabilities, Rice University, USA; Founding Editor, Feminist Economics