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Towards understanding the experiences and meaning of empowerment for Muslim women in tourism entrepreneurship. By Lubna Al Mazroei PhD student. Overview. Why tourism entrepreneurship? Research on tourism entrepreneurship Research on women in tourism entrepreneurship

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Towards understanding the experiences and meaning of empowerment for Muslim women in tourism entrepreneurship

By Lubna Al Mazroei

PhD student



  • Why tourism entrepreneurship?
  • Research on tourism entrepreneurship
  • Research on women in tourism entrepreneurship
  • Tourism entrepreneurship and women empowerment
  • Issues surrounding women empowerment through tourism entrepreneurship
  • Women empowerment in tourism
  • The status of Muslim women
  • Embeddeness theory
  • Study aim and objectives
  • Research site: Oman
  • Female tourism entrepreneurs in Oman
  • Field work
  • Expected outcomes
why tourism entrepreneurship

Why Tourism Entrepreneurship?

  • Difference between tourism entrepreneur and general entrepreneur:
    • Create touristic enterprises
    • Provide mostly intangible offerings
    • Have a higher service content
    • Face with higher impact of seasonality
    • Face with immobility challenge
    • Face with operations restrictions in the market

(Koh and Hatten, 2002)

research on tourism entrepreneurship

Research on tourism entrepreneurship

  • Adequate body of literature on tourism entrepreneurship.
  • For example, government support for tourism SMEs(Wanhill, 2000), destination competitiveness (Jones and Haven-tang, 2005), sustainable tourism (Lordkipanidze, Brezetand Backman, 2005), etc.
  • Limited research on tourism entrepreneurship (Thomas, 2004; Ateljevic and Li, 2009; Shaw and Williams, 2010; Thomas, Shaw and Page, 2011).
research on women in tourism entrepreneurship

Research on women in tourism entrepreneurship

  • Limited research on women in tourism entrepreneurship (Peeters and Ateljevic, 2009).
  • Scant research on female tourism entrepreneurs in Arab/Muslim societies (Tucker, 2007; Alonso-Almedia, 2012).
tourism entrepreneurship and women empowerment

Tourism Entrepreneurship and women empowerment

  • Few studies identified the potential role of tourism entrepreneurship to empower women (Swain, 1993; Wilkinson and Pratiwi, 1995; Gentry, 2007).
  • Tourism a potential source for achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment (UNWTO, 2011).
  • Question on whether or not tourism is indeed opening doors for women (Manwa, 2008).
  • Critical analysis of tourism entrepreneurship opportunities for women and its potential to empower women.
issues surrounding women empowerment through tourism entrepreneurship

Issues surrounding women empowerment through tourism entrepreneurship

  • Large emphasis on the economic benefits of tourism entrepreneurship (Bras and Dahles, 1998; Kwaramba, et al, 2012).
  • Tourism entrepreneurship opportunities linked to stereotypical women’s work (Harris, Mcintosh and Lewis, 2007; Garcia-Ramon, Canoves and Valdovinos, 1995; Manwa, 2008).
  • Implications of social change (Van der Cammen, 1997;Tucker, 2007).
women empowerment in tourism

Women empowerment in tourism

    • Lack of women empowerment definitions in tourism.
  • Only one available empowerment measurement

framework in the tourism discipline

(Scheyvens, 1999, 2000, 2002).

the status of muslim women

The status of Muslim women

  • Ongoing debate on Islam influence on the status of Muslim women (Mernissi, 1985; Moghadam, 2003; Alvi, 2005).
  • Blame on patriarchal structure and misinterpretations of Islam in Muslim societies (Abdalla, 1996; Nazir, 2005; Omair, 2008; Al Maaitah, Al Maaitah, Olaimat and Gharaeibeh, 2013).
embeddedness theory

Embeddedness theory

  • “The roles of entrepreneurs within society and its formal institutions” (Roomi and Harrison, 2008, p. 228).
  • Embedded environment can:
    • increase or limit individual ambitions to pursue their entrepreneurship activities (Baughn, Chua and Neupert, 2006; Welter, 2011).
    • Have a major influence on women’s empowerment (Cornwall and Anyiduho, 2011).
  • Embeddedness theory used in tourism entrepreneurship studies (Bosworth and Farrell, 2011; Saxena and Ilbery, 2008).
study aim

Study aim

To explore the nature and experiences of Muslim women involved in tourism entrepreneurship with particular regards to empowerment.

study objectives

Study objectives

  • To present a lived experience of Muslim women’s involvement in tourism entrepreneurship.
  • To explore the manifestation and meaning of empowerment for Muslim women in tourism entrepreneurship.
  • To understand the benefits of tourism entrepreneurship for Muslim women.
  • To understand the challenges and barriers that Muslim women may encounter due to cultural, gender or religious constraints.
  • To consider the extent to which Muslim women can be empowered through tourism entrepreneurship through various dimensions of empowerment.
research site oman

Research site: Oman

  • Unique socio-economic, political and cultural arrangements in Oman.
  • Evidence of barriers and challenges encountered by female entrepreneurs in general in Oman (McElwee and Al-Riyami, 2003; Dechant and Al Lamky, 2005; Al-Sadi, Belwal and Al-Badi, 2013).
  • No research conducted on assessing tourism entrepreneurship opportunities for women in Oman.
  • Tourism entrepreneurship is a fairly new activity in Oman.
female tourism entrepreneurs in oman

Female tourism entrepreneurs in Oman

  • Collective entrepreneurs:
    • Sidab women sewing group
    • Zaree women
  • Solo entrepreneurs
    • Handicrafts and souvenirs
    • Accommodation
    • Tours
    • Restaurants
field work 1

Field work (1)

  • Methods for collective entrepreneurs:
    • Participant observation (Riley and Love, 2000; Ribeiro and Foemmel, 2012)

“A method in which an observer takes part in the daily activities, rituals, interactions, and events of the people being studied as one of the means of learning the explicit and tacit aspects of their culture” (DeWalt and DeWalt, 2011, p.1).

    • Informal interviews (Jennings, 2005)
field work 2

Field work (2)

    • Photographs
    • Field notes (Emerson, Fretz and Shaw, 2011)
  • Methods for solo entrepreneurs:
    • Semi structured interviews (Finn, Elliott-White and Walton, 2000; Jennings, 2005).
expected outcomes

Expected outcomes

  • A conceptual framework on the nature and experiences of Muslim women in tourism entrepreneurship.
  • Potential to develop a tourism entrepreneurship initiative for women in Oman.
  • Broader implications on gender equality and women empowerment in tourism.
references 1

References (1)

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  • Al Maaitah, R., Al Maaitah, H., Olaimat, H. and Gharaeibeh, M. 2013. Arab women and political development. Journal of International Women's Studies, 12, 7-26.
  • Alonso-Almedia, M. D., 2012. Water and waste management in the Moroccan tourism industry: The case of three women entrepreneurs. Women Studies International Forum, 35, 343-353.
  • Al-Sadi, R., Belwal, R. & Al-Badi, R. 2013. Woman Entrepreneurship in the Al-Batinah Region of Oman: An identification of the Barriers. Journal of International Women's Studies, 12, 58-75.
  • Alvi, H. 2005. The human rights of women and social transformation in the Arab Middle East. Middle East Review of International Affairs, 9, 142-160.
  • Ateljevic, J. and Li, L., 2009. Tourism entrepreneurship: Concepts andissues. In: J. Ateljevic and P. Stephen, eds. 2009 Tourism andEntrepreneurship: International Perspectives. Oxford: ButterworthHeinemann, pp. 9-32.
  • Baughn, C., Chua, B. and Neupert, K. 2006. The normative context for women's participation in entrepreneurship: A multicounty study. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 30, 687-708.
  • Bras, K. and Dahles, H., 1998. Women entrepreneurs and beach tourism in Sanur, Bali: Gender, employment opportunities, and government policy. Pacific Tourism Review, 1, pp. 243-256
  • Bosworth, G. and Farrell, H. 2011. Tourism entrepreneurs in Northumberland. Annals of Tourism Research, 38, 1474-1494.
references 2

References (2)

  • Cornwall, A. and Anyidoho, N. A. 2010. Introduction: women's empowerment: contentions and contestations. Development, 53, 144-149.
  • Dechant, K. and Lamky, A. 2005. Toward an understanding of Arab women entrepreneurs in Bahrain and Oman. Journal of Development Entrepreneurship, 10 (2), 123-140.
  • DeWalt, K. and DeWalt, B. 2010. Participant observation: A guide for fieldworkers. 2nd edition. Lanham: Altmira Press.
  • Emerson, R., Fretz, R. and Shaw, L. 2011. Writing ethnographic field notes. 2nd edition. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
  • Finn, M., Elliott-White, M. and Walton, M. 2000. Tourism and leisure research methods: Data collection, analysis and interpretation. Harlow: Longman.
  • Gentry, M. K., 2007. Belizean women and tourism work: opportunity or impediment? Annals of Tourism Research, 34(2), 477-496.
  • Garcia-Ramon, M. D., Canoves, G. and Valdovinos, N., 1995. Farm tourism, gender and the environment in Spain. Annals of Tourism Research, 22(2), 267-282.
  • Harris, C., McIntosh, A. and Lewis, K., 2007. The commercial home enterprise: Labour with love. Tourism Zagreb, 55 (4),391-402.
  • Jennings, G. R. 2005. Interviewing: A focus on qualitative techniques. In: Ritchie, B., Burns, P. & Palmer, C. (eds.) Tourism research methods: Integrating theory with practice.Oxfordshire: CABI publishing.
  • Jones, E. and Haven-Tang, C. 2005. Tourism SMEs, service quality and destination competitiveness. Wallingford, CABI.
  • Koh, K. and Hatten, T. 2002. The tourism entrepreneur: The overlooked player in tourism development studies. International journal of hospitality and tourism administration, 3 (1), 21-47.
references 3

References (3)

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  • Lordkipanidze, M., Brezet, H., and Backman, M. 2005. The entrepreneurship factor in sustainable tourism development. Journal of cleaner production, 13, 787-798.
  • Manwa, H., 2008. Enhancing participation of women in tourism. In: G. Moscardo, eds. 2008. Building Community Capacity for Tourism Development. Oxfordshire: CAB International, pp. 116-122.
  • McElwee, G. and Al-Riyami, R. 2003.Women entrepreneurs in Oman: some barriers to success. Career Development International, 8 (7), 339 – 346.
  • Mernissi, F. 1985. Beyond the veil: Male-Female dynamics in modern Muslim society. London: Al Saqi Books.
  • Moghadam, V. 2003. Modernizing women: Gender and social change in the Middle East, Colorado, Lynne Rienner Publishers.
  • Nazir, S. 2005. Challenging inequality: Obstacles and opportunities towards women's rights in the Middle East and North Africa. In: S. Nazir and L. Tomppert (eds.) 2005. Women's rights in the Middle East and North Africa: Citizenship and justice. Oxford: Freedom House, pp.1-14.
  • Omair, K. 2008. Women in management in the Arab context. Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, 1, 107-123.
  • Peeters, L. and Ateljevic, I., 2009. Women empowerment entrepreneurship nexus in tourism: Processes of social innovation. In: J. Ateljevic and S. Page, eds. 2009. Tourism and Entrepreneurship: International Perspectives. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, pp. 75-89.
references 4

References (4)

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  • Roomi, M. A. and Harrison, P. 2008. Impact of women-only entrepreneurship training in Islamic society. In: I. Aaaltio, P. Kyro and E. Sundin (eds.) 2008. Women entrepreneurship and social capital: A dialogue and construction.Koge, Denmark: Copenhagen Business School Press, pp. 225-254.
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  • Scheyvens, R. 1999. Ecotourism and the empowerment of local communities. Tourism Management, 20 (2), 245-249.
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References (5)

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  • Tucker, H., 2007. Undoing shame: Tourism and women's work in Turkey. Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, 5 (2), 87-105.
  • Van der Cammen, S., 1997. Involving Maasai women. In: L. France, eds. The Earthscan Reader in Sustainable Tourism. London: Earthscan, pp. 162-163.
  • World Tourism Organization and UN Women. 2011. Global report on women in tourism 2010. Madrid: World Tourism Organization and UN Women.
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