Women empowerment through social innovation in indigenous social enterprises

<div><p>ABSTRACT Purpose: To explore innovative enabler mechanisms for women's empowerment in a social enterprise and how they promote local development in a Zapotec indigenous community, the third largest ethnic group in Mexico. Originality/gap/relevance/implications: This paper contributes to the extension of social entrepreneurship literature from a gender perspective, exploring the mechanisms that allow women to succeed in highly marginalized indigenous communities. Key methodological aspects: This paper follows a case study methodology, inductive approach and qualitative methods mainly through 70 in-depth interviews. Summary of key results: Although the male-dominated culture slows down the democratic and political empowerment of women in the community, mechanisms such as job stability, low-interest microcredits and gender-equality policies in the organization have triggered economic empowerment. Key considerations/conclusions: The creation of empowering mechanisms within the social enterprise has allowed the Zapotec community to prosper and increase its general wellbeing. Women have been particularly benefited since the organization has given them the opportunity to work, empowering them to create micro-enterprises and changing the prevailing culture towards a more equalitarian society. Increasing control of their source of income has improved women's willingness to participate in political and managerial decision-making, inspiring more women in the community to work at the organization.</p></div>