TOWARD AN UNDERSTANDING OF ARAB WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS IN BAHRAIN AND OMAN
ASYA AL LAMKY
Entrepreneurship has become a defining business trend in many countries throughout the world. The ranks of entrepreneurs contain a sizable contingent of women. As a result, research into the pathways of entrepreneurship as a general phenomenon as well as a career option for women has flourished in recent years. However, very little of this research has focused on women entrepreneurs in Arab countries, particularly those around the Gulf of Arabia, where private enterprise is viewed as a way for these nations to reduce their reliance on oil and their dependence on expatriate (foreign) workers. This study of the business start-up experiences of ten Arab women from Bahrain and Oman can serve as a starting point for such research. Although based on a non-representative sample, it suggests that the experiences of the Arab women entrepreneurs studied generally parallel those of their counterparts from other parts of the world with a few distinct differences. These differences relate to securing start-up capital and other resources, networking, and work/family balance. Infused with Arab and Islamic values, the unique cultural milieu played a major role in shaping the entrepreneurial experiences of the Bahraini and Omani business owners studied.
Women entrepreneurs, Arab women, developing countries, Middle East entrepreneurship
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