Women Entrepreneurs in Pakistan: How to Improve their Bargaining Power
Publisher: International Labour Organization
Publication Date: Jun 2003
The rate of business start-ups by women in Pakistan has grown considerably over the last decade. Yet business is generally seen as a male domain. This report reviews the business environment for women in Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Lahore and presents the findings of a survey among 150 women entrepreneurs. Those surveyed were already in business, operated from dedicated business premises outside the home and employed five or more people. The situational analysis revealed how women's disadvantaged position in society more broadly, including restrictions on women's mobility, constrained business activity. In turn, government efforts to promote small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) have failed to take gender issues into account. This report makes recommendations on how to overcome the constraints and inequalities facing women entrepreneurs in Pakistan. Efforts to build the capacity of women entrepreneurs need to be strengthened, training and support packages need to be formulated, and training should be provided to women councillors at district and tehsil (municipal) level. In addition, a comprehensive database of women entrepreneurs is proposed along with establishing and strengthening women's business fora.