Empowering Individuals through Entrepreneurship: the age-old remedy for inequality and unemployment.
Female entrepreneurs are nothing new to society. Yet, literature surrounding entrepreneurship is often from the male perspective. Traditionally, business has been a man’s world. Times have changed. While it is no longer assumed that entrepreneurs will be men, they still dominate the business landscape. A person’s gender plays a significant role in whether or not they have the opportunity to become an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurship is key to economic development. Innovation and enterprise drive economies to prosperity. Businesses provide jobs and economic growth. Helping businesses start-up and grow, is also about helping society and reducing inequality.
How do we bridge the gender divide in entrepreneurship to give those who have traditionally struggled to become entrepreneurs the chance to start successful businesses?
Doctor Roshni Narendran is focused on gender entrepreneurship and gender related issues in entrepreneurship. “I would like to believe that entrepreneurship provides individuals with opportunity to gain legitimacy within the society to have more equal opportunities,” says Dr Narendran, whose research is conducted in India. She would like a better understanding of gender-based inequality within society. And, to understand why women, transgender persons and other sections of society, have less opportunities to become successful entrepreneurs.
Reducing Inequality through Entrepreneurship.
“I have always thought I had to do something for society,” says Dr Narendran, who is drawn to helping people that need empowerment.
“I believe entrepreneurship can be a remedy, or the medicine if you like, for inequality and unemployment. That’s why I chose entrepreneurship in the first place. It empowers people to have more equal opportunities, though of course it can be a gamble as well.”
“Traditionally, literature, and society’s attitude towards entrepreneurship, is to assume entrepreneurs are men,” she says. “Many prominent authors have looked at entrepreneurship from an economic development point of view. Gender, in particular transgender and entrepreneurship, has received less attention. Firstly, we need to understand the intricacies of the inequality, then we can come up with solutions to reduce it.”
Dr Narendran chose to concentrate on India for a myriad of reasons. “I am from India, but at the same time it’s a culturally rich country that provides lots of different variables,” she explains. “There is the issue of caste, social values, the social construction of what gender is. It gives me the chance to look deeper into those issues, and hopefully I can help empower people who traditionally have less opportunities available to them.”
Dr Narendran’s PhD focused on women entrepreneurs in India and included the impact of caste and government programs on women entrepreneurs. It was through this research that she realised much more needed to be done in this area of gender and entrepreneurship.
“There are other sections of the community that need more attention,” she explains. “This led to my current research focus, which is transgender entrepreneurs. Personally, I’d like to find any gaps and help to develop some social initiatives that can help the transgender community. Once I’ve completed my research, the next step would be to collaborate with someone to develop some initiatives that will help them.”
The power of ideas: why students of entrepreneurship can make the world a better place.
Dr Narendran is also a lecturer in entrepreneurship and innovation. Her students have highlighted just how exciting entrepreneurship can be. She has found her interactions with them particularly rewarding.
“I chose to study entrepreneurship as a remedy for reducing inequality. It was my way of helping society,” she says. “But, through teaching I started to get more insight into the power of ideas through my students, who can be so inspirational. They come up with the most amazing new ideas. Really unique ideas. We need to harness them.”
“I want to help them develop those ideas, think about gaps in the market and come up with innovative products and services that can materialise into businesses. I find it very rewarding to see them go off and do it. Our students are the entrepreneurs of the future. Helping them succeed is another way of helping society.”
Enabling Entrepreneurship in India: Reducing Gender Inequality through Innovation and Empowerment.
Entrepreneurship is key to economic development. For nations like India, empowering entrepreneurs to start successful businesses leads directly to its economic rise. The more businesses in India, the more income injected into its economy. The economic benefits of entrepreneurship are well known. What is less well understood, is the power of entrepreneurship to reduce inequality in society…
Traditionally, in both society and the literature surrounding entrepreneurship, it has been assumed that the majority of entrepreneurs are men. Attitudes have changed dramatically towards women in business, in some countries more than others. But, a person’s gender still plays a role in whether or not they have the opportunity to become an entrepreneur.
Dr Roshni Narendran has chosen gender and entrepreneurship as her research focus because she is drawn to helping people that need empowerment. Dr Narendran’s PhD focused on women entrepreneurs in India, and the problems they faced. It included the impact of caste and government programs on women entrepreneurs.
“I have always wanted to do something for society,” says Dr Narendran. “I believe entrepreneurship can be a remedy, or a medicine if you like, for inequality and unemployment. That’s why I chose to study entrepreneurship in the first place. Entrepreneurship empowers people to have more opportunities.”
“Today, there are still more male entrepreneurs,” she says. ‘Before we can come up with solutions to reduce the imbalance, we need a greater understanding of the gender-based inequality within society. How does the society construct ‘gender’? In other words, what is its perception of gender?”
Dr Narendran grew up in India, but she chose India as the focus of her research for many reasons. “It’s a culturally rich country that provides lots of different variables,” she says. “There is the issue of caste, social values, the social construction of what gender is. It gives me a chance to look deeper into those issues and hopefully I can help empower people who traditionally have less opportunities available to them.”
“I grew up in a culture where we are strongly encouraged to be employed,” she says. “my generation was taught we should study to be medical doctors, engineers or a similar profession. No-one said to me, ‘you should be an entrepreneur,’ or, ‘you should be creative’. It is possible to be socially mobile in India if people have opportunities and support networks available to them.”
Dr Narendran’s research into women entrepreneurs gained recognition when she contributed a chapter in the book, Women Entrepreneurship and Myth of ‘Underperformance’: A New Look Women’s Entrepreneurship Research. “My research into women entrepreneurs led me to the realisation that I had to do more in this area,” she explains. “There are other sections of the community that need more attention. This led to my current research focus, which is transgender entrepreneurs.”
For transgender people, especially in India, it is difficult to find well paid work in the mainstream. To be entrepreneurial can be an opportunity to be part of the mainstream. Slowly, in parts of India, programs are being implemented to help transgender people start businesses. Most of these programs are still in the initial stages.
“I’m currently gathering data which still needs to be analysed,” says Dr Narendran, “Only when we really understand that data can we gain more insight into the problems faced by transgender entrepreneurs and come up with a solution. I do know that many transgender people don’t complete their education. Recently, the society has been changing and accepting transgender into the community”
“One of the main focuses of the government in India is providing programs for businesses with a view to supporting entrepreneurship,” she says. “Part of my research is to analyse these programs and see how they have helped various sections of the community.”
“For me personally, I’d like to find any gaps and help to develop social initiatives that can help reduce inequality through empowerment and innovation.”
Dr. Roshni Narendran is a Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Tasmanian School of Business and Economics. She is interested in cultural and gender issues in the field of Entrepreneurship. She has more than eight years’ experience in teaching and had successfully completed workshops in teaching and learning from the university of Wollongong and Babson College. She is experienced in delivering courses in face-to-face, distant and online platforms.
Roshni completed her doctoral studies at the University of Newcastle, Australia. The title of her PhD thesis was ‘Factors influencing Female Entrepreneurship Growth in Developing Economies-An Enquiry into the Kerala Experience’. She was the recipient of 2009 Research Higher Degree Excellence award from the University of Newcastle for this thesis. Prior to starting her doctoral studies, Roshni was working with an autonomous government body that focused on restructuring of public sector units. Working with an autonomous government body prompted Roshni to focus on the efficacy of government programs. Since graduating, Roshni has worked in universities as well as private sector, where she gained more than eight years' experience teaching students in the online, distant and face-to-face platforms.
|Degree||Thesis title||University||Country||Date of award|
|PhD||Factors influencing Female Entrepreneurship Growth in Developing Economies - An Enquiry into the Kerala Experience||The University of Newcastle||Australia||29/03/2009|
|MA||Factors influencing the Prescription Practices of Doctors in India||University of North London (Now called as London Metropolitan University)||UK||2002|
University Learning and Teaching (ULT)
University of Wollongong
Languages (other than English)
Entrepreneurship, Strategic Human Resources Development, Leadership, Strategic Human Resources Management, Organisational Analysis, Introduction to Management, Small Business Management, Strategic Management, Cross Cultural Management, Managing Across Cultures
Roshni has taught both face-to-face and online students for more than eight years. She has the opportunity to teach both undergraduate and post-graduate students. Roshni has taught in more than one discipline human resource management and entrepreneurship.
I am the unit coordinator for Fundamentals of Innovation and Entrepreneurship this semester:
- Gender studies
Roshni has published in pharmaceutical marketing, pedagogical teaching methods and female entrepreneurship. Roshni’s research interest is in gender and entrepreneurship. Roshni’s doctoral thesis explored the institutional constrains faced by women. Her study also explored the impact of the caste system and government programs on female entrepreneur. There is an increased focus of studies on women entrepreneurs, Roshni felt that other sections of the population are not getting enough attention in the literature. Other sections of the population need a voice in academic literature hence recently started to research on entrepreneurs in transgender community. The University of Wollongong supported her research by providing her the Business faculty grant. In her research, she is trying to understand how entrepreneurial activities can change social legitimacy.
Roshni is currently involved in two projects. One project on entrepreneurship in transgender community which she is collaborating with a Senior Lecturer at the University of Wollongong. Secondly, a project on understanding the financial literacy of female entrepreneurs with academics from the Australian Institute of Business.
Recipient of 2009 Research Higher Degree award from the Faculty of Business and Law, The University of Newcastle, Australia
Fields of Research
- Entrepreneurship (350704)
- Economics, business and management curriculum and pedagogy (390103)
- Financial institutions (incl. banking) (350204)
- Impacts of tourism (350801)
- Small business organisation and management (350716)
- Consumer-oriented product or service development (350602)
- Migration (440303)
- Feminist and queer theory (440501)
- Human resources management (350503)
- Gender and sexualities (230108)
- Learner and learning (160199)
- Professional development and adult education (160104)
- Management (150302)
- Social class and inequalities (230112)
- Multicultural services (230111)
- Economic growth (150203)
- Marketing (150303)
- Other culture and society (139999)
- Religion and society (130501)
- Pedagogy (160302)
- Human capital issues (150502)
- Socio-cultural issues in tourism (110402)
Roshni research interests are in Gender & Entrepreneurship and Measurement of Entrepreneurship. Dr Narendran has considerable experience in field studies in India. Two of Roshni’s important publications are in Pharmaceutical Marketing and the relation and The human development index predicts female entrepreneurship rates.
Journal Article(8 outputs)
|2022||Johnsam R, Narendran R, Verma P, Okumus F, Thanigan J, 'Investigating revisit intentions of religious tourists to natural disaster-affected religious destinations', Tourism Analysis ISSN 1083-5423 (In Press) [Refereed Article]|
|2021||Narendran R, Reveley J, Almeida S, 'Countering transphobic stigma: Identity work by self-employed Keralan transpeople', Gender, Work and Organization ISSN 0968-6673 (2021) [Refereed Article]|
|2020||Rajaguru R, Narendran R, Rajesh G, 'Social loafing in group-based learning: student-created and instructor-created group perspectives', Education and Training, 62, (4) pp. 483-501. ISSN 0040-0912 (2020) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 6Web of Science - 5
Co-authors: Rajaguru R
|2018||Narendran R, Almeida S, Coombes R, Hardie G, Quintana-Smark E, 'The role of self-determination theory in developing curriculum for flipped classroom learning: a case study of first-year business undergraduate course', Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 15, (5) Article 6. ISSN 1449-9789 (2018) [Refereed Article]|
|2017||Narendran R, Maniyalath N, 'The impact of the caste system on female entrepreneurship: an inquiry into Kerala experience', Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research, 37, (7) Article 7. ISSN 0740-7416 (2017) [Letter or Note in Journal]|
|2016||Maniyalath N, Narendran R, 'The human development index predicts female entrepreneurship rates', International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research, 22, (5) pp. 745-766. ISSN 1355-2554 (2016) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 15Web of Science - 12
|2013||Narendran R, Narendranathan M, 'Influence of pharmaceutical marketing on prescription practices of physicians', Journal of the Indian Medical Association, 111, (1) pp. 47-50. ISSN 0019-5847 (2013) [Refereed Article]|
|2011||Narendran R, 'Are the female entrepreneurs of beauty salons in India, victims of bad publicity?', International Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations, 11, (1) pp. 47-56. ISSN 1447-9532 (2011) [Refereed Article]|
Chapter in Book(3 outputs)
|2021||Narendran R, 'Indian transgender women creating social value through social entrepreneurship', Research Handbook of Women's Entrepreneurship and Value Creation, Edward Elgar Publishing, S Yousafzai, C Henry, M Boddington, S Sheikh, A Fayolle (ed), United Kingdom, pp. 296-308. ISBN 9781789901368 (2021) [Research Book Chapter]|
|2018||Narendran R, 'Socially constructed masculine domination: officials' perception of female entrepreneurs in Kerala, India', Women Entrepreneurs and the Myth of Underperformance': A New Look at Women's Entrepreneurship Research, Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, S Yousafzai, A Fayolle, A Lindgreen, C Henry, S Saeed, and S Sheikh (ed), London, pp. 125-140. ISBN 978 1 78643 449 4 (2018) [Research Book Chapter]|
|2014||Narendran R, 'Social risk in female entrepreneurship', Being Practical with Theory: A Window into Business Research, THEORI, H Hasan (ed), Wollongong, Australia, pp. 108-111. ISBN 9781291638264 (2014) [Research Book Chapter]|
Conference Publication(2 outputs)
|2022||Narendran R, 'WEP-OECD Panel Session: Revolutionising Women's Entrepreneurship Policy', International Council for Small Business World Congress, 8 July 2022, Online (webinar) (2022) [Plenary Presentation]|
|2019||Narendran R, 'Evidence Of Benevolent And Hostile Sexism Among The Agents Involved In Promoting Female Entrepreneurship In Kerala', 2019 BCERC, 5-8 June 2019, Babson Park, MA, USA (2019) [Conference Extract]|
|2021||Narendran R, 'Fostering a gender-sensitive entrepreneurship culture: India', In: Entrepreneurship Policies through a Gender Lens, OECD Studies on SMEs and Entrepreneurship, OECD Publishing. ISBN 9789264968325, Paris, France, pp. 47-50 (2021) [Entry]|
Other Public Output(2 outputs)
|2021||Brammall A, Narendran R, Gill H, ''I would encourage any listener who is an employer to not fear the immigrant': Launceston business owner Archana Brammall', Mornings with Lucy Breaden, 936 AM ABC Hobart local radio, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 8 March 2021 (2021) [Media Interview]|
|2021||Narendran R, 'India', Entrepreneurship Policies through a Gender Lens, OECD Studies on SMEs and Entrepreneurship, OECD Publishing, Paris (2021) [Report Other]|
Grants & Funding
Number of grants
- Australian Institute of Business ($2,000)
- Small grant
- Administered By
- Australian Institute of Business
- Research Team
- Goel K; Wegner D; Winchester D; Narendran R
- 2019 - 2020
- Faculty of Business, University of Woollongong ($7,387)
- Faculty Research Grant
- Administered By
- University of Woollongong
- Research Team
- Almeida S; Narendran R