It is no breaking news: Women can perform and deliver results just as well as men in the corporate world. In fact, several studies indicate females to possess a higher set of skills than their male counterparts. But where are all our talented Pakistani female entrepreneurs?
To find out the specific gender-specific barriers that hinder women to be entrepreneurs, the British Journal of Education, Society & Behavioral Science recently conducted an extensive survey in some of the major cities of Pakistan. There major findings were:
- Restriction on mobility
- Lack of finance
- Limited decision making
- Lack of role models and guides
- Men’s hold on markets
- Family pressure
The lack of finance seem to be of interest. Why are women denied their right to obtain startup loans over men? Although the country has a large micro financing environment only a mere 25 % of the women business owners of Pakistan are microfinance borrowers.
- Unmarried women maybe be rejected startup loans on the unfair assumptions that they are high risk borrowers.
- Access of loan requires two male guarantors, at least one of which should be unrelated to the client. The condition of presenting an unrelated male guarantor poses as a major barrier towards obtaining a loan
Despite the number of barriers faced by the average Pakistani woman, a huge percentage of women have surfaced as successful entrepreneurs. Most of them are opting to stay in their comfort of their homes- not to be homemakers or moms, but instead be internet entrepreneurs or freelancers. With the low cost of starting a business from their home, women are waving goodbyes to the traditional corporate world. The number of female owned brands over Facebook is a growing number. From hand-made jewelry businesses to social media agencies women are setting up their own terms to work from home rather than comply to politics of the office environment. Pakistani woman are realizing the potential of Internet entrepreneurship which allows them to bypass barriers such as family and societal pressures.
Although females still to date constitute a small percentage of the corporate world, it is predicted that more than half of the jobs will be created by female based businesses in the upcoming years.
There is nothing a Pakistani woman can’t handle!
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