Home Women Empowerment Women entrepreneurs in Pakistan face formidable challenges

Women entrepreneurs in Pakistan face formidable challenges

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Women entrepreneurs in Pakistan face formidable challenges
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Encouraging women’s entrepreneurship is crucial for overall societal development. Women’s contributions to business development serve as the backbone for economic acceleration

Amir Murtaza

Encouraging women’s entrepreneurship is crucial for overall societal development. Women’s contributions to business development serve as the backbone for economic acceleration, particularly in the early stages of new enterprises. The ongoing global crises also highlights the urgency of involving women in entrepreneurship to achieve economic development goals.

Asia has experienced substantial growth in investment, technology, and innovation, with the role of women entrepreneurs playing a critical role. However, Pakistan lags behind, as highlighted by the Global Entrepreneurship Report. The country is ranked 146th out of 149 in the Global Gender Gap Report, emphasizing the need to increase female economic engagement.

Despite challenges, there is a noticeable shift in recent years, with growing awareness of the value of female entrepreneurs in Pakistan. With a population of 240.4 million, including 49% females, there’s a call to increase female labor force participation, currently at 22.8%, according to the Economic Survey 2021–2022. Encouraging women’s business ownership not only fosters economic growth but also empowers women to realize their full potential.

With a population of 240.4 million, including 49% females, there’s a call to increase female labor force participation, currently at 22.8%

As the global recognition of women’s entrepreneurship grows, the food industry in Pakistan, especially the hospitality sector, is experiencing a significant increase in women-led ventures. At the grassroots level, numerous women have established home-based kitchens, supplying homemade meals to a limited clientele, facilitated by motorbike riders, known as Bykea riders, who serve as economical suppliers. The second tier involves women running food businesses from their homes, boasting larger kitchens and additional helpers to manage a more extensive clientele. These entrepreneurs cater to significant occasions and provide meals for large offices.

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Photo Courtesy: WOW 360

Regrettably, women entrepreneurs in Pakistan’s food-making sector frequently encounter being overlooked and unsupported

Another inspiring tier within the hospitality sector comprises women who have overcome numerous challenges to contribute significantly to the food industry. Renowned names such as Nilofer Saeed of Copper Kettle and the Hobnob bakery chain, Naila Naqvi, the force behind Pie in the Sky, Florence Villiers of Cafe Flo or Auntie Munaver’s food and dessert exemplify the impact of women entrepreneurs in the food industry. Despite their commendable progress across all tiers, these enterprising women face multifaceted challenges, often overlooked. The vibrant hospitality and tourism sector, while attractive for entrepreneurs, presents unique obstacles, especially for women, limiting their participation in this entrepreneurial domain.

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Regrettably, women entrepreneurs in Pakistan’s food-making sector frequently encounter being overlooked and unsupported when launching their ventures, resulting in missed opportunities for substantial contributions to the nation’s economy. The challenge of accessing financial resources is pronounced, with the loan application processes perceived as exceptionally difficult, and financial institutions offering limited support. Legal constraints further impede women entrepreneurs, marked by insufficient policies hindering the expansion of business opportunities. Many face a skills gap in entrepreneurship, posing challenges in establishing and managing successful ventures. The pervasive influence of traditional and male-dominated societal norms contributes to gender discrimination and inequalities, significantly impacting the roles of women in the business landscape.

Addressing the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in Pakistan’s hospitality sector requires a multi-faceted approach. Establishing support mechanisms and recognition programs can significantly contribute to overcoming barriers and providing the necessary encouragement for women to thrive in the industry. Financial institutions play a crucial role in this journey, and adopting more accessible and supportive procedures can encourage women entrepreneurs to access credits and funding for their ventures.

Addressing the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in Pakistan’s hospitality sector requires a multi-faceted approach

Simultaneously, legal reforms are imperative to create an environment where female rights are protected, addressing legal constraints that currently hinder the growth of women-led businesses. Entrepreneurial training programs and workshops tailored to bridge the skills gap can empower women with the knowledge and expertise needed for successful ventures. Additionally, initiatives challenging and changing traditional gender roles and expectations are essential for creating a more inclusive environment that fosters the success of women in entrepreneurship.

A positive development for women entrepreneurs in Pakistan unfolds with the launch of the ‘She Leads, Pakistan Rises’ project.” in 2024 with a budget of $20-25 million over five years. This transformative initiative is designed to empower Pakistani women entrepreneurs by addressing barriers in finance, digital tools, and operations while fostering a supportive ecosystem. More than just an investment, it offers a platform for women to unleash their potential, actively contribute to economic prosperity, and cultivate a more equitable and vibrant society.

Read: ‘Zippy Writers’ train women entrepreneurs on business collaborations

The women entrepreneurs in Pakistan’s hospitality industry face formidable challenges, their success stories stand as testaments to their resilience and determination. Recognizing the challenges and addressing them systematically is crucial for fostering a more inclusive and empowering environment for women in entrepreneurship. As we celebrate these achievements, let us also commit to breaking down the barriers that hinder the full potential of women in the dynamic world of hospitality.

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AMIR MURTAZA- Sindh CourierAmir Murtaza is a gender expert with a dedicated focus on gender-based violence & gender and development. He can be reached at amirmurtaza1@hotmail.com.

 

 

 

 

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