In Pakistan, women entrepreneurship is presently considered a significant tool in enabling women empowerment and emancipation. It is said that the advantages of women entrepreneurship are many and varied. The number of women entrepreneurs across the globe is rising, which is definitely good sign for families, communities and economic development of Pakistan. However, in the various states, the number of women entrepreneurs still lags behind men.
The experts urged that the governments and businesses should consider strategies to support women entrepreneurs in ways that are appropriate for a country’s economic stage of development and the country-specific cultural and practical issues that women face.
The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor’s (GEM) ‘Women’s Entrepreneurship’ report from 2016-2017 revealed that women’s overall rates for total early-stage entrepreneurial activity (TEA) rose by 10 percent in 20 years. The 2017-2018 GEM report revealed that the gender gap between men and women entrepreneurs had declined by 6 percent since 2016. Other various researchers have revealed that while men are more probable to become entrepreneurs — women are also a significant and rising source of the economic development and job growth that comes with entrepreneurial activity globally. There are various causes why women become entrepreneurs. The GEM reported that women tend to be driven more by necessity than men, particularly in efficiency and innovation-driven economies. Women may start businesses to offer the sole form of income for their families or to augment their spouse’s income. They might start their own businesses in order to avoid a glass ceiling or to have a job that offers flexibility to manage their family’s needs. Women may pursue entrepreneurship because they see an opportunity in the market.
In our country, unluckily women entrepreneurs are facing various barriers. No doubt, Pakistani women entrepreneurs are hard worker. They just don’t rely only on luck to get success. Also an optimistic aspect of women entrepreneurs is that they want to commence the entrepreneurial activities because of having a personal motivation i.e. they want self-accomplishment, self-fulfillment and feeling pride and freedom. Experts conclude that a woman of Pakistan has a strong desire to get self-achievement.
Experts also analyzed that the psychological factors are totally disturbing the entrepreneurial activities in Pakistan. The risk taking tendency of the women entrepreneurs is not very high but the overall need for achievement in the Pakistani women was recorded high. A World Bank report also reveal that less than 25 percent of Pakistan’s businesswomen are micro finance borrowers even though Pakistan’s micro finance environment is one of the worlds’ most progressive.
The report also revealed that discriminatory lending practices are forcing Pakistan’s women entrepreneurs to look beyond micro finance providers for capital to start and sustain their businesses. The report also found that micro finance loans for businesses are largely unavailable to women entrepreneurs, particularly unmarried women who are considered high-risk borrowers. Micro finance providers enforce strict requirements that make it tough for businesswomen to secure loans without men. Approximately 68 percent of women borrowers required a male relative’s permission in order to qualify for any kind of loan.
According to the World Bank Global Findex report during 2017, only 7 percent of women had a financial services account. Compare this to 36 percent in Bangladesh, 77 percent in India and 58 percent in Saudi Arabia. The only country that performed worse than Pakistan was South Sudan. For these advantages to be realized, women need access to a broad range of financial services, counting savings, credit, insurance and transfers.
Going beyond the ability to save and spend money as they choose, female entrepreneurs require credit to organize and grow their businesses. Equitable financial access can enable a vibrant and gender-inclusive SME ecosystem. The British Journal of Education, Society & Behavioral Science conducted a research to analyze the gender specific barriers that hamper the women entrepreneurs from entering the mainstream of entrepreneurship in Pakistan. The study was also conducted in 4 main cities of Pakistan such as Multan, Faisalabad, Sargodha and Sialkot during a period of 6 to 8 months and was published in 2012. The findings of the study showed that factors like lack of finance, restriction on mobility, limited decision making, lack of role models and guiders, men’s hold on markets, family pressure and discrimination were the main barriers in the way of women entrepreneurship in Pakistan.
Despite the significance of women entrepreneurs, women who want to start businesses face extra issues compared to their male peers in Pakistan. Some of these issues are practical, like their childcare needs.