Aligning Identity, Faith, and Entrepreneurship: Experiences of Muslim Women Entrepreneurs in India


  • Eisha Choudhary



Muslim women are increasingly venturing into niche culture-based business markets and establishing faith-oriented enterprises, selling modest wear, halal beauty products, and alcohol-free perfumes, along with engaging in non-traditional entrepreneurial activities such as opening a café, home bakery, and so on. Their motivations for venturing into entrepreneurship are a combination of economic needs, desire for upward social mobility, social acceptance of entrepreneurship as a desirable economic activity for Muslim women, and commitment to contribute to the development of their community. In the context of economic discrimination in everyday life in India, this essay builds upon the narratives of five Muslim women to explore the influence of social institutions, such as religion, on women’s entrepreneurial initiatives. By recognizing the form and uniqueness of entrepreneurial conduct at the intersection of faith and gender identity, the essay sheds light on the practice of entrepreneurship among Muslim women. This exploration challenges and alters the popular and majoritarian narratives on the practice and process of entrepreneurship.

Author Biography

Eisha Choudhary

earned her PhD from the Department of Social Work, Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi. Her doctoral work traces intersectionalities of multiple identities and dynamics of work at the crossroads of gender, faith, and entrepreneurship for Muslim women in India. As an independent researcher, she has worked on research projects with Minority Rights Group International, IT for Change, and International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW). Her research interests include gender, work, minority rights, and entrepreneurship. She is currently a research fellow with USAID South Asia Regional Digital Initiative’s MSME Tech Policy Fellowship, where she is working on a research project exploring the vulnerabilities, challenges, and opportunities for weavers and collective enterprises in India’s handloom sector in respect to digitalization with a gender and policy lens.

Eisha Choudhary can be reached at


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