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New Horizons in Philosophy and Sociology

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What is our responsibility as scholars in the Humanities and Social Sciences in the face of global issues threatening humanity today? This book provides a platform for an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural dialogue among philosophers and sociologists on the most pressing global issues facing humanity today. Combining the critical thinking of philosophy with sociological methods and researches, this volume offers fresh and stimulating perspectives with regard to various issues including environmental degradation, democracy, gender and economic inequalities, religion, war and peace.

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Women Entrepreneurs in Rural Areas: From Awareness to Difference: Denizli Case

1 Introduction

Women make up a considerable number of farm labourers as unpaid family workers considering their significant role in national development and farming production. However, they are deprived of the benefits and opportunities of national wealth in comparison to men. According to the 2013 Agriculture in Turkey Report of Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB), one out of every four labourers in Turkey is employed in agricultural sector, 83% of whom are unregistered labourers. A majority of farm labourers above 15 years old either work in their own field or in family-run business. Almost all women farm labourers (96.2%) are unregistered workers.

It has also been noted that of all workers in Turkey in 2014 (25.933.000), 70.3% were male and 29.6% were female. 21.1% of all employees in Turkey work in agricultural sector. 41.2% of all farm labourers either work in their own field or employers and 48.8% of those people work in family-run business as unpaid labourers. It may be suggested accordingly that although a majority of farm labourers are women, their workforce remains invisible and still unregistered, which inevitably has negative repercussions in their integration to social life.

A nation’s development dynamics solely relies on prioritizing human resources. Increasing number of women labourers both in farming fields and in factories are employed as unregistered and low paid workers in Turkey and it eventually results in impoverishment of women in all senses, which should not be only reduced to access to food, a regular income, and material resources. Women are commonly at a disadvantage in accessing public services such as education, health, and social security. Rural women, therefore, cannot increase their economical and cultural capital mainly because they are unable to enjoy the benefits of modern life, they are partly unaware of their legal rights, and they are burdened with a lot of responsibilities at work and home.

Poverty is prevalent in rural areas and especially in farming families in Turkey. Poor people in rural areas, in comparison to those in urban areas, suffer from lower levels of income, worse housing, worse diet, and worse quality of life. But ←251 | 252→poor people in rural areas are also debarred from a good education, proper health services and public services, technological infrastructure, and cultural activities, which inevitably makes it even more challenging for them to be a part of social life. Women, especially in rural areas, function as labourers, marketers, and care providers at home. These women have an intrinsic potential to cooperate and create networks. However, they are not usually granted the same opportunities as women in urban areas might possibly have, which eventually creates a vicious circle that makes them even poorer (Eştürk & Kılıç, 2016:146).

Entrepreneurship enables women farm labourers to increase their competitive capacity and thus it is urgently required to analyse its socioeconomic and sociocultural aspects as women, while producing farming goods and products, also create ideas. Entrepreneurship, to a great extent, is based on transforming ideas to actions and hence it needs long term and sustainable efforts. In this sense, the number of entrepreneur women who are just beginners or rather experienced will certainly illustrate the extent to which they devote their efforts to transform their lives. In this sense, an analysis of their entrepreneurship experiences will definitely portray how women transform productive activities for their own and for their communities. This chapter also seeks to investigate how women struggle against gender inequalities through their success in business, how they contribute to reconstruct social structure, how they maintain their relations with family members, and how they participate in decision-making processes in their families and in social life.

This chapter also aims to discuss to what extent women can improve their capacity at work while fulfilling their daily responsibilities at home, which will reveal the success stories of women in terms of their integration to business life in rural areas while eliciting their efforts in turning opportunities into results. This chapter will necessarily include the challenges and experiences of women in their business.

2 Sociodemographic characteristics of rural women entrepreneurs in Turkey

Entrepreneurship was coined as a financial term in 19th and 20th centuries. It was first used by French economist Cantillon and later developed by J. Baptiste Say who suggested that an entrepreneur unites all means of production and takes risks for his/her profits. Sociologically, entrepreneurship is not only a matter of economic development but also a social and cultural phenomenon. Besides their significant role in economic development, entrepreneurs also pioneer social transformations/innovations. The relation between the entrepreneurial spirit ←252 | 253→and cultural formations is a derivation of social structure. Entrepreneurial culture and the nature and potential of entrepreneurship are also a major focus of sociological studies. Furthermore, since entrepreneurs generate social stratification and class differences, many sociologists consider entrepreneurs as representatives of the ruling class and they regard entrepreneurs as social and political flag-bearers, pioneers, and benchmarks of social differentiation (Aytaç & İlhan, 2007:102–103).

Therefore, an analysis of entrepreneurship covers a wide range of issues, particularly social and cultural concerns beyond economical and financial problems, which will be the main approach of our study since women entrepreneurs in rural areas are also confronted with social and cultural restrictions and their analysis provide insight into understanding women’s problems in those areas.

Women entrepreneurs are commonly defined as women who run a business outside their home, alone or with her employees. They work together with public and private institutions, they plan the future of their business and make decisions about their profits, investments, and corporate resolutions and therefore they take risks in pursuit of their business objectives. Therefore, women who have had a professional education and work in the same field are not considered as entrepreneurs because they do not take any risks (Ecevit, 1993:17–18).

Despite relatively higher rates of women entrepreneurs in developed countries, the number of women entrepreneurs in developing countries still remains unsatisfactory. TÜİK (Turkish Statistical Institute) Household Workforce Survey (2015) indicates that the percentage of women employers increased to 8.1% (an increase of 0.1% in comparison to previous year) and that of male employers decreased to 91.9% (a decrease of 0.1% in comparison to previous year). However, the number of women entrepreneurs falls behind the number of male entrepreneurs, which might result from the fact that women still undertake traditional roles along with their professional responsibilities. Moreover, they are unable to keep up with the latest legal regulations and the latest technological infrastructure since they do not have a proper educational background. As a result, they are forced to work without a social security and regular income in family-run fields and to marry at early ages leaving them out of decision-making processes.

Rural women entrepreneurs have recently gained a considerable ground in agriculture, industry, and service sectors. Women’s Studies Centres at universities also help them to integrate into business life and carry out projects of raising awareness in collaboration with Labour Employment Agency, Agricultural and, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Organization (KOSGEB), and Provincial Directorate of Agriculture as well as non-governmental organizations. ←253 | 254→Having participated in such projects, rural women have taken significant steps to secure their lives, optimize their productive capacities and skills, gain their financial freedom, enlarge their markets, continue their household responsibilities with flexible working hours, and take initiatives in their business lives.

However, it should be kept in mind that entrepreneurship is equally liable to the challenges caused by gender inequality. Women entrepreneurs often take part in establishing small or medium enterprises or unpromising firms and they usually operate in grey markets (Soysal, 2010:74). Besides, rural life may deter women from taking risks in business since they might be reluctant to risk all their assets. Nevertheless, they occasionally have difficulties in maintaining farming production and becoming legally liable persons.

It has also been reported that male entrepreneurs start their business between 25–30 years old while women can attain similar opportunities between 35–45 years old (Yetim, 2002:81). Women entrepreneurs, in contrast to their male counterparts, are generally characterized with their traditional roles and their needs and requirements changing with age. Moreover, while male entrepreneurs focus on financial benefits, women entrepreneurs prioritize their personal goals, which suggests that women need more social support than men. In other words, women have a high opinion of their reputation but they tend to be more cautious and to have less self-esteem (Soysal, 2010:74), which relies on social and cultural values and norms rather than financial concerns.

3 Study method

Before initiating reviews with the rural women entrepreneurs, the researchers conducted a comprehensive review of relevant literature on rural women farm labourers and women entrepreneurs, which basically analyses women entrepreneurs on a local basis (Şahin, 2009; Soysal, 2010; Ülker, 2013; Arıkan, 2016). Local dynamics and local policies have a far-reaching influence on women entrepreneurs. For instance, women need assistance in order to establish a feasible and sustainable investment, to facilitate financial issues, to design an implementable project, to make use of technological infrastructure, and to follow up legal regulations. In this sense, this study aims to investigate challenges women entrepreneurs encounter and their expectations about the future of their business.

Semi-structured face to face interviews primarily focus on questions as follows: what were the experiences of awareness those women have while transforming themselves from unpaid family workers to self-sufficient employers? What were the obstacles and challenges they might encounter? Did ←254 | 255→they receive any support from their families or social circles while establishing their business? What were their decisiveness strategies and where did they get support from? What were their future expectations and how did they turn social and material restrictions into opportunities?

4 Participants

The study participants included rural women entrepreneurs in three small towns in Denizli district – Çivril, Baklan, and Çal. In light of the study data obtained from KOSGEB in Denizli, it was concluded that women entrepreneurs who received support from KOSGEB mainly lived in Denizli city centre and were engaged in industrial production. The statistical data in our study, therefore, were obtained from Agricultural and Rural Development Office in Denizli. However, it should also be noted that these institutions have not recorded regular and official statistics on women entrepreneurs, which is considered to be a significant finding of our study. An analysis of rural women entrepreneurs in agriculture sector is also noteworthy to understand local dynamics.

15 women were interviewed in this study of whom 2 participants dropped out of secondary school, 10 participants graduated from high school, 3 participants had a vocational college diploma. The participants in this study were aged between 40–59 years old. However, the Agricultural and Rural Development Office statistics illustrated that women entrepreneurs supported by the office were aged between 22–65 years old, who were growing thyme, aniseed and poppy, and medicinal and aromatic plants, respectively. Women entrepreneurs who participated in the study were from farming and stock-farming families. Men in their families also largely made their living on farming and stock raising. Women in the study had two or three children mostly. While they stated that their relations with their families and neighbours were important, they also stated that they received the biggest support from their neighbours.

5 Collecting data

This study was designed as a descriptive study and the data were collected with qualitative methods and analyses. The data were collected between March and June. Before implementing the study, statistical data derived from Agricultural and Rural Development Office, KOSGEB, Southern Aegean Regional Development Agency were analysed to find out the number of women entrepreneurs and their specific field of operation, which indicated that these data were not regularly ←255 | 256→and officially recorded in any of these institutions. The results of our study were limited to three small towns and 15 participants due to insufficiency of study resources (budget, time, etc.), and therefore it cannot be generalized.

While interviewing women entrepreneurs about their limitations and opportunities allowed an overall description of women’s efforts in rural areas, it also generates a substantial database for further researches. Besides, women’s own account of their experiences in entrepreneurship may elicit discursive and contextual dimensions, which will certainly enrich the practical analysis of women’s entrepreneurship. The study data were based on semi-structured interviews and researcher’s own notes. The researcher personally conducted all interviews having obtained the consent of the participants. The study data were composed of transcriptions of interviews categorized under certain themes.

6 Findings: factors that encouraged women to become entrepreneurs

To begin with, it is elemental to analyse the concept of entrepreneurship regardless of sex and gender. Basic motivations of entrepreneurship are the availability of a nation’s infrastructure for new investments, financial, and technological support provided by public institutions, developing human resources to manage and organize investments for a sustainable enterprise, and an available social and cultural structure, which could be equally true for both men and women entrepreneurs.

However, women entrepreneurs also have to face different conditions in urban and rural settings. If women in rural areas are already employed and they are overburdened with domestic tasks (e.g. taking care of children, the elderly, or the disabled persons at home), they may delay their plans of becoming an entrepreneur indefinitely. The results of Garanti Bank’s Women Entrepreneurs (2015) survey indicated that a majority of women entrepreneurs (66%) were above 40 years old and they were still in charge of their business, which complied with the results of similar studies conducted in Europe, the United States, and Turkey despite Turkish women’s relatively older age. There could be three basic explanations for this phenomenon: many women, as confirmed with the qualitative data, have worked in several other jobs before starting their own business and a majority of them, already entitled to pension. Moreover, women wavered in their decision to start a full-time business due to their heavy responsibilities at home such as child raising and other chores. They feel confident to start their dream career only when their children are old enough to start school. Furthermore, women have self-esteem and courage to start their own business ←256 | 257→only in their forties considering the patriarchal traditional family structure in which they have been raised.

Women entrepreneurs in rural areas have different obstacles and opportunities than those in urban areas. For instance, women in rural areas are more often confronted with traditional values and therefore they tend not to risk their limited financial assets. Women in rural areas are also constrained with inadequate opportunities of education and lack of professionalization. Having spent many years only in farms and fields, women in rural areas are discouraged by an anxiety of failure and losing all their savings and by a low possibility of starting a career in a different line of business. As M. İ., one of the interviewees, puts it:

We have a lot of thyme here and sometimes we have some more left when we come back from the market place and it is wasted. Professors from the university or statesmen visit us here to provide education. Many of them told us to establish an enterprise if there is too much of thyme. And they provided education. We decided to start a business for our son, thinking that at least our children might have some extra income. Because their offer was quite attractive. We joined the education. They were also giving some financial support. Indeed, we were quite hesitant at first. We were afraid to lose our savings while we were hardly getting by. Because you need a lot of money to start a business and the government wants to see your business is running. There are a lot of laws and rules. Thank God our older son took care of it. And then our enterprise was inspected and it was OK. Now we are collecting thyme from mountains and processing it in our factory and sending them to different cities in packages. Thank God, it turned out much better than we expected. But we had to travel back and forth to Denizli to get the support. There are too many details, we were almost giving up. (Baklan, 57 years old)

The results of our study showed that one of the main reasons to motivate women to become an entrepreneur was that those women in rural areas had to work without a social security for many years and they had no guarantee for their future. A. C. states that:

I believe women are more powerful than men in all senses. We run the house and take of the children. We work in the fields and milk the sheep and cows. Then, we come back home and do the chores. Professors from the university and government agencies that support farmers came here and organized seminars. Then, I considered myself important and appreciated. I said Why not me? I wanted my own income and power to prove myself and I made my mind that day. I made a little research. I asked the contact information of the speakers. Then I went to visit them. They took good care of us, I thank them all. We are still in progress. They don’t give you money right away when you ask for help. But whatever it costs, I won’t give up as I have made a lot of progress. (Çivril, 55 years old)

The participants in our study also agreed that they made a lot of arrangements to produce ideas and put them into practice. They also stated that their ←257 | 258→responsibilities at home and their relations with relatives took much time, which caused a delay in realizing their plans.

Two participants complained that their spouses found them insufficient and inapt and therefore they felt that they had to prove their potential. A participant of our study, F. D., put it that way:

One day, while having breakfast, we were talking about business matters. I mentioned in passing that we might as well start a business while the government is providing financial support. He made fun of me. He said if we started that business he would be on his own, I wouldn’t do any good, after all I could do is to give him two of my golden bracelets. That hurt me a lot and I went to Denizli to prove myself, I did my research. Then we got things started. It was all because of my determination. One shouldn’t mess with women. We can do everything once we really want it. I believe good things will happen. I would have done the same even if it ended up with frustration. (Baklan, 43 years old)

It might be concluded that traditional rural men are inclined to underestimate the potential of women in establishing business, developing business, and making important decisions.

Women entrepreneurs are also encouraged by the collaboration of municipalities, district governorship, and universities. They are also inspired by success stories of women entrepreneurs that promoted their self-esteem to achieve their goals. Women also stated that they were now fully informed after participating in education seminars and motivated to maximize their potential, products, and assets. They further added that these seminars helped them to enlarge their social networks. N. C. explains that:

I met a lot of people while going to Denizli for entrepreneurship seminars. I met a lot of experts from KOSGEB and Rural Development Office. Supposing that I failed in that business, I would be happy to know and to be known by these people in those offices. I thank them all, they took really good care of us. They wanted women to become more successful than men. (Çivril, 43 years)

7 Challenges that women entrepreneurs encounter

The fundamental problem for women in entrepreneurship is to maintain a balance in their de facto conditions and overcome obstacles. Some of these obstacles may hinder their efforts to start their business. The primary step of becoming an entrepreneur for men and women is to attend certificate programmes and prepare a report concerning their business idea for which they can be supported by institutions. However, they are required to follow up legal regulations and have access to technological infrastructure. Women entrepreneurs who can read and write but do not have Internet literacy commonly get help from their husbands ←258 | 259→or their children or grandchildren (if there are any) above 18 years old. In other words, women can generate ideas but in practice they need technological help from their relatives. G.B. admits that she had difficulties in accessing technological infrastructure and states that:

I dropped out of 7th grade. I can’t manage detailed issues. I ask help from my son to come with me, attend the seminars, and explain things I don’t understand. Also, we need to fill in some application forms on the internet. I don’t know much about the Internet. But I can’t have my children with me all the time. Those youngsters, you know. They can’t stand by us every time we need them. (Çivril, 52 years old)

The entrepreneur needs to have a certain amount of capital to start their business, which is just another challenge for women entrepreneurs. Women in our study expressed their anxiety to risk all their savings and their fear of failure resulted in a considerable abstention from taking risks in business life. They also admitted that their relatively old age barred them from taking the necessary steps. Karadeniz (2014:22) found that 41.04% of women who participated in the study were discouraged with the fear of failure while only 32.2% of men in the study felt the same anxiety, which confirmed the findings of our study. It might be suggested that there is a statistically significant difference between men and women in perception of opportunities and self-esteem, which appears to be even more noteworthy in 2014. Women commonly tend not to take risks in comparison to men, which might affect their decision to start a new venture, 41.01% of women in Turkey expressed their fear of failure in starting a new business. A comparative analysis between the studies conducted in Europe and Turkey indicated that men in Turkey are more willing to start their own business, and more confident of their own knowledge and talents, and more skilful in identifying opportunities than women.

Another challenge in entrepreneurship is that bureaucratic procedures take much time, which, in turn, demotivates and dissatisfies entrepreneurs. It is often the case that bureaucratic procedures interfere with women’s responsibilities at home. For example, they have to track their documents in government offices while their children need to be picked up from school, which causes problems at home with their spouses and children. F. E. complains that:

Sometimes I have to go to the government offices for days and sometimes I have to spend the whole day in the city center to track my documents. And then, there is no one else to cook, to iron, and to pay a visit to school to meet the teachers of children. Then, they point fingers at me. I am struggling to do my best to finish up all procedures as soon as possible. But I have got a family, I have got responsibilities. It costs a lot to track all these documents while living in a small town. We are trying to sort out some problems in district governorship but again I have to go to the city center once in a while. (Çal, 46 years old)←259 | 260→

The participants also believed that their choice of investments are often determined with unstable market conditions, which causes several disadvantages. A good choice of business at the time of their application might lose its advantages and competitive power at times of financial crisis, which is especially true for Turkey where unstable economic conditions might discourage entrepreneurs from starting a business.

8 Challenges and advantages of being a woman entrepreneur

Although traditional family structure has recently undergone a tremendous change in rural areas, rural women still live in a world strictly surrounded with traditional norms and values. While women have to take care of their children and do the chores, they are double burdened with their determination to start a business of their own, which eventually causes burnout. While striving to maintain a balance between their family life and business, women are expected to put much effort and labour. F. A. expresses her feelings as follows:

Before I started my business, I first talked to my mother-in-law because she loves her son a lot. She wants me to earn my own money and take care of her son. I told her that I was the maid of the house for many years and now I wanted to start my own business while I could. They didn’t have anything to say since they saw I was adamant. But again she advised me not to neglect my family. (Çal, 48 years old)

Women entrepreneurs commonly resented that they could not get the support they expected from their relatives and their potential was underestimated. They also complained that their efforts were ridiculed by their relatives. Women entrepreneurs stated that women’s roles and responsibilities were still shaped by traditional and cultural codes both in the family and in the world of business. It was found in quantitative study that 72.4% of women believed that patriarchal social structure negatively affects women entrepreneurship, which complied with the results of our study (Öztürk & Arslan, 2016:11).

The participants in our study affirmed that women entrepreneurs have a long and hard journey and it is paved with many disadvantages, especially in acquiring knowledge and developing business skills while making applications, tracking documents, competing with rivals in the market that men take for granted.

On the other hand, women are considered to be relatively more successful in gender-specific lines of business and therefore it is much easier to have an access and expertise in those fields. Nevertheless, they encounter several challenges when they start a business in different sectors. For instance, women are comparatively more successful in their enterprise in service and trade sectors while ←260 | 261→there are few entrepreneurs in manufacturing sector, which was confirmed with the statistical data obtained from KOSGEB.

Women’s advantages in entrepreneurship are their desire to survive in the market with cautious and abstaining moves, their perfectionism in business, their tendency to keep a balance between their responsibilities at home and in business, their will to gain their economic independence, and their eagerness to enlarge their social networks. Women’s disciplined and organized work ethic also enable them to become promising entrepreneurs. In addition, women participants stated that the process improved their self-esteem and helped them to raise awareness towards their own capacity of producing ideas and realizing them whether or not they achieve their plans in the end.

9 Women entrepreneurs’ expectations from institutions and family members

The women participants primarily demanded that bureaucratic procedures be more uncomplicated. Some participants stated that legal procedures discouraged entrepreneurs rather than motivating them, and after a while they became tiresome. As S. C. stated:

When I wanted to start my own business, at first I thought it would be much easier. But it turned out just the opposite. There is always document missing and they always want more documents. You should be handy with computers, too. It’s difficult. Sometimes when I say “I don’t know maybe we should give up, my husband says, we have come a long way, we’d better go on”. (Baklan, 59 years old)

The women participants set forth that these adverse circumstances that influence their relations with their family and intensified their fear of failure should be eliminated, that the government should offer bank credits at low interests for those who do not have sufficient financial sources, and that they should participate in seminars and education programmes more often to figure out which performance objectives should be required in their line of business.

The participants in this study particularly stressed that they need more support in preparing their project in terms of legal and technical procedures, which will also facilitate other procedures for women as well.

Women’s labour has a substantial role in a nation’s economic, social, and cultural development. Therefore, it is important to reward women’s labour and grant it public visibility.

As women are inclined to be inspired from one another, they set up successful role models for others. Thus, it is also significant to increase the number of trailblazer women to set up examples in business life.←261 | 262→

It is also noted that governments and local authorities should identify and solve problems locally. They also need easy terms of payment for the bank loans, which will certainly help rural women to tackle their financial problems they have due to their limited financial sources and education costs of their children.

The participants in our study also expressed their desire to get more support from family and relatives. They stated that they would be grateful if their husbands provided them full support, shared their household responsibilities, and motivated them in their efforts.

10 Conclusion

The concept of ‘social development’, first coined by the United Nations, is commonly understood as ‘rural development’ regardless of a nation’s rural characteristics. Accordingly, rural development is defined as “a process of merging efforts of small communities and public institutions in order to ameliorate economic, social, and cultural conditions, integrating these small communities into the national culture, and ensure their contribution to national development” (Gökdemir & Ergün, 2012:68).

In this respect, women play a significant role in achieving rural development. Confining women’s roles and responsibilities into a very limited area and depriving them of opportunities also mean neglecting a substantial potential to improve social, cultural, and economic life. It is therefore suggested that a major national policy should be drafted to guide women to establish and manage their own business rather than being an unpaid family worker.

It is critically important that women, as a major force of human resources of a country, should be integrated into social and economic life, encouraged and supported to establish small and medium enterprises, and provided with access to information technology to contribute to the national economy. The interviewees in our study demanded that they should be supported by banks and governmental and non-governmental institutions in terms of technical infrastructure and know-how, and legal procedures should be simplified for women without a proper educational background. They also needed to negotiate with the banks on mortgage requirements and credit notes. The participants in our study especially underlined that the business world should be reorganized so as to eliminate gender differences and to ensure facilitating and sustainable opportunities.

Today, women are more eager to improve their education, health, and social security conditions, to gain public visibility for their knowledge and skills, and ←262 | 263→enjoy opportunities in social and economic life. However, they wish to start their own business to be economically independent and to have a social status and prestige within flexible work hours. Therefore, women who are forced to work as unpaid family worker along with household responsibilities want to receive a recompense for their efforts. Entrepreneurship, in this sense, provides an opportunity for women to have their own business and a sense of belonging.

Women entrepreneurs seek to pave the way for economic and social visibility considering their problems caused by gender inequality. Their fundamental plea is to be a productive member of the world of business recognized as independent decision makers in economic life without being confronted with sexism.

They suggested during the interviews that their efforts to become entrepreneurs should be conveyed to other women around the country through mass media, that experienced and successful women entrepreneurs should speak in public seminars to other women as role models, and that they need to be informed about the risks and opportunities in their field of business, which should be organized in collaboration with universities, NGO’s, chamber of commerce, and local governments.

A majority of participants agreed that being a woman comes with its own disadvantages, which are persuading family members and their social circles, hesitating to take high risks due to limited financial sources, a fear of being criticized by their spouses, and relatively narrower space to compete and struggle with other entrepreneurs.

In this respect, it is elemental for a nation to create successful women role models to diminish gender prejudices in entrepreneurship and settle an understanding that will elaborate women as idea makers and practitioners. In recent years, women in Turkey have created synergy to transform social dynamics. These women are innovative, self-confident, committed to turn economic and social opportunities to advantages, cooperative to organize and share resources, and visionary and courageous. Rural women have now built up a new social reality through information technology and the success stories of role models.

It should also be kept in mind that geographical characteristics and their natural product, cultural characteristics also generate some obstacles for women. The general perspective of women can be summarized as follows: “When we rolled up our sleeves to become entrepreneurs, a lot of people said this is a business for men only. A lot of people said we will meet all kinds of people and maybe we will be sexually harassed. A lot of people ridiculed our efforts and said a woman’s place is her home. But we went on doing what we thought right. If we give up ←263 | 264→and mind what other people say, women’s roles will never change”. Therefore, state policies are significant building stones of overcoming such obstacles in social, economical, and cultural structure. It is of utmost importance that local authorities should definitely organize training programmes and seminars for rural women who want to become entrepreneurs by inviting experts in the field to discuss problems and solutions, which will certainly bring forth new changes to ensure the public visibility of women in social and economic life. Therefore, this process should be considered as a long term journey in social development.


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