Introduction:Since late 90s, women of Pakistan have started to enter organizations at an accelerated rate. And from the past decade, our women have started to take interest in entrepreneurship as well. Since the day our media matured in the past decade, women have become better aware of their surrounding opportunities and as expected from them, they have capitalized on them.
The routes they’ve taken maybe somewhat different from men, but they have surely managed to overcome all odds and take their business to the top. With women leading in many small businesses across the country, our economy – despite current crisis – feels more secure.
1. How are Women strengthening our Economy?
As more women enter the entrepreneurial arena, more employment opportunities are expected for both men and women and as employment opportunities increases, so do the chances of national income and economic growth.
Although media, IT and diversified thinking has removed most of the barriers, some of them have yet to be removed.
Earlier studies did reveal that women ran things differently from men. However, recent studies show that there are more similarities than differences whether they acquire business from their spouse, inherit it, or built it from scratch. Two important factors that determine how successful a Pakistani woman is are following:
2. What Are The Characteristics Of Businesswomen In Pakistan?
(I) Experience, and
(II) Years of self-employment.
Difference in point of views
Though not many, there are few differences that distinguish our women from our men in the entrepreneurial sector. One thing that sets women apart as entrepreneurs is that they think of their business as a cooperative network of relationships instead of a profit-reaping entity. Generally believed to be soft-hearted, women encourage participative decision making compared to men. A study has also shown that their goals are more community oriented compared to men.
The second differentiating factor is the sector served. Pakistani men are inclined towards non-service sectors but the women show more interest in services industry. Thus women contribute in a better way for economic independence and job creation.
Another study has revealed that business run by women seem to be more gender-neutral than businesses run by men. But women do prefer hiring women over men. According to research, women starting their business lately are more likely to possess following:
- Higher education
- Professional managerial experience
- Executive-level experience
- Better capital management, credit and equity
- More motivation for self-sufficiency and achievement
- Better and dynamic personality
- A strong drive for their business
- Better creativity for innovation and implementation
- High self-confidence
- Better ability to take risks
- Ability to respond to market signals
Based on the above argument, we can conclude that businesswomen in Pakistan are:
- Risk takers
3. Why our Women are Resorting to Entrepreneurship?
Despite the growing business opportunities for women, the ratio is still in favor of employed women. However, the trend of women in business in Pakistan is increasing and following are a few reasons:
Nature of Business:
Employment does not provide women with opportunities to explore. It does not offer them any sense of achievement and it doesn’t seem challenging to them.
Some studies suggest women love taking on entrepreneurial challenges more than their male counterparts.
Thanks to amending laws and legislation, Pakistani women now have more opportunities to start a business than before.
As population increases, so does unemployment rate which is making way for self-employment in Pakistan. Pakistanis are thus seeking business opportunities so they can escape the social constraints and contribute to family income.
And of course ‘the more the merrier’ factor. Women in business are obviously contributing to our economy. Women are better tax-payers than men-owned businesses and hence Pakistani government is benefitting significantly from female entrepreneurships.
Education and Literacy Rate:
Increased literacy rate in women have resulted in initiation of entrepreneurship process. As a matter of fact, both literate and illiterate women are focusing towards business, albeit with a difference in approach.
4. What are the needs of Pakistani Business Women?
Women in Pakistan do not require are much capital as our men. They can work with even a small amount of capital. But they do require a capital nonetheless. In addition:
Pakistani women in trade need access to support and information.
- They need access to local markets.
- Our women also need training on business.
- For businesswomen with kids or aging parents, there is a need of daycare centers.
- Pakistani women need confidence building and motivation.
- Our women need to break unnecessary and self-imposed social barriers.
- They need more female role models.
- Women must take part in legislation in decision making activities so activities that impede women from business can be eliminated.
5. What are the Problems Faced by Our Businesswomen?
Following Problems are restricting our Women from business and as a result, slowing down our economical growth:
- Limited Interaction with Other Women: This problem is hindering successful entrepreneurs affecting networking skills.
- Typical Entrepreneurial Areas: Our women mostly excel in niches where they are considered to be more effective than males, for instance, women boutique and fashion apparel.
- Family Issues: Being an entrepreneur is tough enough, but our women also have to take care of elder family members, spouse and the kids.
- Over thinking: Women over think a lot about themselves. The question their skills to the point they star doubting themselves. It is a responsibility of schooling and higher educational institutes to groom them and instill confidence in them.
- Discrimination: Despite all the advancements and the media, most Pakistani women still face racial discrimination. They are still treated as the inferior gender and are preferred only in certain niches, for example, cooking, fashion and interior designing.
- Lack of Networks: Men have been able to develop a strong network in Pakistan over the year. Same cannot be said for women.
- Difficulties in Financing: Women often have to use male as guarantors when seeking loans. The fact that they have to bring their spouse or father to get loans, prove the male dominance in banking sector.
Even though women have proved time and again that they are worthy entrepreneurs, there is still air about them being unsuccessful in business. Some feel women are more emotional than rational, while others think they aren’t innovative or creditworthy.
Common challenges faced by our women are:
- They aren’t considered worthy CEOs or directors. For such position, the preferred gender is usually male.
- The need of information and assessment among businesswomen is different from men. A recent study indicated that need of female entrepreneurs changed with respect to the stage of their business.
Common needs include:
- Cash flow
- Financial growth
- Business value addition
- Hiring and training
- Motivation for growth
- Successful selling
- Management of Sales force
Family Influences: Again, our women constantly face social barriers, an important aspect of which is family management. Businesswomen face conflict of loyalties, roles, relationships and personal identities. Some women also rely on capital funding from other family members. Due to capital funding, decision-making process is also affected. Many females are restricted by the society to do a job or a business, this barrier stops them to take steps confidently.
7. What are the Steps to Take to Promote Entrepreneurial Trend among Pakistani Women?
Three important steps which aim at growing business opportunities for women are:
- Pushing women-owned business
- Unlocking women’s potential as entrepreneurs, and
- Providing them with favorable framework and conditions
- Pushing at the micro-level:
- Many Pakistani women are already operating at micro-level. They need an encouragement and a push to go big. Following points can help them grow the scale of their operations:
- Gender analysis for support programs.
- Data collection regarding male and female entrepreneurs.
- Female entrepreneur targeting.
- Promotion of associations and representative bodies.
- Examination of Impacts of regulatory policies.
- Promotion of demand-oriented support.
- Encouragement of flexible financing options.
- Unlocking Potential
A common barrier hindering entrepreneurial activities from valuable female entrepreneurs is our laws and policies. Such laws must be made for flexible for Women so they can contribute to our economy equally. By:
- Reviewing previous policies,
- Identifying obstructing policies,
- Reviewing them in the light of cultural and social context,
- Modifying these policies,e
- Encouraging IT and regulatory associations to limit burden on businesswomen,
- And holding regular sessions with businesswomen, their associations and financial institutions,
- Bottlenecks can be identified and removed so women’s trading and business potential can be tapped into.
- Favorable Framework:
- Favorable framework means creating an environment where women can comfortably carry one with their business activities with minimum obstacles.
- Provision of incentives for growth
- Removal of barriers
- Rewarding dynamic representatives of women trade/business associations
- Encouraging communication with market leadersP
- Profiling their contributions to Pakistani economy
- Using primary and secondary data to form new policies and rectify old ones
- Ministry of Human Rights in Pakistan (MOHR)
- Other women related ministries
- Economic mad finance ministry
- Development and welfare ministry
- Related bodies, governmental or otherwise
If our women get higher education, get access to flexible financing options and favorable environment for business, they can positively affect our economy through their business. Women in western countries are getting more opportunities and hence some of the big organizations have them as a CEO. It is high time for Pakistan to start taking baby steps so we can gradually level-up our economy and our concept of entrepreneurship.
Oct 31, 2014
Sep 25, 2014
Jul 24, 2014
Jul 23, 2014