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women's empowerment

Treasure-Hunting for Women Entrepreneurs

Qursum Qasim's picture



Pick any country in the developing world.

Say, Pakistan.

Where are the women entrepreneurs in Pakistan?

They start and manage digital-content creation firms serving international clients. They are sole proprietors of construction businesses bidding for government projects. They supervise tailors and embroiderers in windowless storage rooms that double as stitching units. They export high-end gems and jewelry around the world.

Women entrepreneurs in Pakistan lead cutting-edge, innovative businesses – but there are far too few of them. The recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report finds that only 1 percent of Pakistani women are engaged in entrepreneurship – the lowest proportion in the world.

Pakistan is not alone in its dismal ratio of growth-oriented (or indeed any kind of) women entrepreneurs. Even in the developed Asian economies of Korea and Japan, only about 2 percent of women are entrepreneurs. Sub-Saharan Africa does much better in this regard, with 27 percent of women, on average, engaged in entrepreneurship -- but they are mostly involved in low-productivity sectors of the economy.

Women entrepreneurs, in Pakistan and globally, have narrow networks of friends and family who provide them with some initial capital to start their small businesses, with little expectation of further financial support. Their export customers are located wherever they have extended family. And they rarely feature in local chambers of commerce activities.

Banks are often reluctant to extend lines of credit to, provide working capital to or lend to women-led enterprises. This makes it difficult for these enterprises to pursue growth. Perhaps this is why the average growth projections for women-led enterprises are seven to nine percentage points below those for their male counterparts.

Quick Guide to International Women’s Day: Live Chat, Data, a Contest, Videos and More

Donna Barne's picture

International Women’s Day 2013 comes at a time of heightened concerns globally about women’s safety in society—hence the day’s  theme: “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women.”  World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim addresses the issue in a Huffington Post blog, and invites feedback from the public on ways to accelerate progress for women and girls.  You can ask questions and weigh in on the factors driving women’s empowerment in a live chat March 6 in English, French, and Spanish with Sustainable Development Vice President Rachel Kyte, and World Bank gender experts.  Find a complete list of World Bank International Women’s Day 2013 resources.

Participate

March 6 Live Chat: What Drives Empowerment?
11 a.m. EST (DC time), 16:00 GMT (Convert Time)

Post questions ahead of the chat for Sustainable Development Vice President Rachel Kyte, Gender and Development Director Jeni Klugman and other experts. Follow on Twitter with hashtag #WBLive.

Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

CIPE Global
20 Empowered Women that You Should Be Following on Twitter

“Men are from Mars, women are from Venus – we’ve all heard that before.  It’s no secret that the men and women are treated differently, but when it comes down to the heart of the matter, women are just as capable of success, if not more so, than their galactic counterparts.

With International Women’s Day fast approaching, CIPE is highlighting ways to help the movement for women’s empowerment. CIPE’s programs approach women’s empowerment through institutional reform, economic and political empowerment, and working with partner organizations to look beyond financial assistance – by helping women build leadership and business skills, CIPE focuses on preparing women for participation, whether they’re running a business, advocating legislative reforms, or simply making the world a better place for taking care of their families.” READ MORE

A Tiny Spark Ignites a Powerful Blaze

Sabina Panth's picture

The idea of starting a grassroots women-to-women communication campaign dawned on me when I realized the power of aesthetic expressions in capturing the intangible impact of development interventions.   The beneficiaries of the Women’s Empowerment Project in rural Nepal used oral lore to articulate their impressions and experiences of their participation in the program through songs, dance and poetry.  And because the program interventions were rooted in basic literacy training, I helped translate the oral lore into written documents through the medium of a newsletter, where the program beneficiaries themselves became the suppliers and readers of the contents.  The newsletter proceeded to serve as a powerful grassroots network that brought together two- hundred and forty local organizations partners of the program and their hundred and twenty thousand clients across the country for horizontal learning.  The newsletter also proved to be an effective vertical medium for the program management to assess the impact of the program interventions beyond its set targets and indicators.

And the Ladies Cleared the Drinking Clubs…

Sabina Panth's picture

The program was massive.  It catered to a hundred and twenty thousand clients, scattered across the mountain and plain terrains of the country, along 21 districts, from the east-end to the west-end borders.  It required working with two hundred and forty local organizations and four thousand community groups.  And it entailed a multi-sectoral approach, combining basic literacy with business training and legal rights and advocacy campaigns. And the client themselves took charge in running these programs. The USAID-funded Women Empowerment Program in Nepal was the largest social development program during 1997-2001.