Self-Employment among Immigrant Women of Colour and Identity Reconstruction: Assertion of Pride and Purpose Within Intersecting Marginal Positions


Sepideh Borzoo, University of Calgary; Pallavi Banerjee, University of Calgary

Immigrant women of colour have been shown to reconstruct their identities through their engagement with self-employment even under conditions of gender, race, religion, and class marginalization. Our paper, based on interviews with 15 first, second, and third-generation immigrant, women of color owners of the beauty businesses and their employers, delves deep into this question of identity reconstruction from the margins. We find that the women attempt to reconstruct their identity/ies at the margin by pushing against dominant negative perceptions of immigrant women in Canadian society. They attempt to pivot their marginalized identities as co-constituted and, as a result, agentic. Based on their positionalities the women build bridges of solidarity with other women of colour owned businesses, empower other women of colour through their own businesses, and underscore pride and purpose in their self-framed identities of women of colour business owners.  

This paper will be presented at the following session: