Research Handbook on Gender and Innovation
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Research Handbook on Gender and Innovation

Edited by Gry A. Alsos, Ulla Hytti and Elisabet Ljunggren

Innovation is seen as one of the main engines of economic growth creating prosperous nations and enabling technological development within industries and sectors This Handbook contributes to the field of innovation by providing a wide range of studies from different analytical and methodological perspectives and from various regional and industry contexts in order to pave the way forward. The multidisciplinary contributors discuss topics such as gender and innovation in new and small businesses, and growth businesses; addressing innovation in different organizational contexts ranging from public sector health care to mining and forestry; researching gender in innovation policy.
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Chapter 5: Self-employed women’s everyday innovations in East Africa

Malin Tillmar


This chapter argues that mainstream perspectives on innovation are not only gender-biased, in several dimensions, but also context-biased and ethnocentric. The chapter reports from qualitative studies on the innovations occurring in the mundane everyday life of urban female SME owners in the three large countries of the East African Community, that is, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The selected cases from these studies illustrate the innovativity that is exercised, even required, by these women simply to sustain the livelihood of themselves and their families. Although the phenomenon of frugal and reverse innovation is gaining more and more ground in the literature, this everyday innovativeness of women in emerging economies, for example the East African, has yet to receive adequate attention.

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