Finding a job or working is every individual’s life line. We are all in search for better jobs for more wealth, for our families and for better prosperity. Jobs are helpful in protecting us socially. Enterprises are an essential component in producing respectable work for all and also help in the economic growth and social objectives of individuals, their societies and countries. Enterprises of all sizes and kinds are a source for expansion and employment for others. They are responsible for creating job opportunities and reducing poverty in the country. Entrepreneurship is an important feature for industrial augmentation and the strength of any country’s economics. Entrepreneurship brings enthusiasm, perseverance leading to economic success. If individuals take part in entrepreneurship regularly, only then a flow of business opportunities can be generated. It is believed that “Entrepreneurs are engines of growth of a country.”
“No decent work strategy can be successful without encouraging entrepreneurship, innovation and productivity.”
Juan Somavia, Director-General
International Labour Organization
Women and Entrepreneurship
Women Entrepreneur signifies women who run their own or family owned businesses. In the developing world, female entrepreneurs make an undistinguished contribution to the economic development of the country. They provide jobs and services to others and take part in the growth of the emerging market economies. Women entrepreneurs are a wide range of group which consists of women running big organizations to small restaurants. They are motivated, can take action without any given direction and work brilliantly under pressure or any kind of crisis. Their decision making skills are subjective.
It is the necessity of the high tech era that women should stand up and take strong initiatives in the prosperity of a nation politically, economically and socially. Women entrepreneurship has been documented as an untapped yet significant resource of fiscal development. They still are a minority of the entrepreneurial community. As compared to men, they have a lower participation rate then men in entrepreneurial activities. The industries chosen by women for business are different then men which includes, retail, education and other such services. There is no equal opportunity between men and women entrepreneurs. Women entrepreneurship is about the status in society and the role of entrepreneurship in that specific society. Women entrepreneurs go through different hard ships and other problems in the developing countries. Same is the case in Pakistan.
Status and Condition of Women in Pakistan
Unfortunately, in Pakistan women are not given the chances to initiate new ventures and to establish them into large trading organizations. Women are considered as bread makers than bread earners. In smaller regions, they are regarded as second class citizens whose sole purpose is to get married and serve the husband and his family all her life.
According to a research, women who are given the proper opportunities to start their business from ground up have become strong independent entrepreneurs in time. As the awareness is increasing between women from all walks of life, women are passionate to enter the business arena which could gradually expand into some profitable ventures.
Current Status of Women Entrepreneurs
Pakistani women’s increasing eagerness to enter various business fields imply that in the near future women can play a noteworthy character and create new mild stones in this field. However, their success depends on the approval and support of their family.
The influx of women from different colleges and universities does indicate the change in women to be self employed and offer their talent in the form of economic growth. Women are actively participating in information technology , textile garments, fashion designing, handicrafts, jewelry, fancy candles of international quality, handmade gift items, leather garments etc.
Our women entrepreneurs have the ability to add $25-30 million to Pakistan’s exports if given the proper facilities and encouragement. Realizing this potential, the women entrepreneurs are given workshops and training under the government’s wing in different parts of Pakistan. This will certainly help in promoting the export culture between women owned enterprises. The government has been trying to push forward women entrepreneurship in various circles by establishing institutions like EPB, Pakistan Export Finance Guarantee Agency, First Women Bank Limited, and Small Business and Finance Corporation etc. These institutions are providing technical and financial help for women entrepreneurships.
InPakistan, women run their businesses from home leaving the financial matters to the male members of the family. They are also categorized in subordinate roles and hence are not taken seriously due to inadequate education and business skills and poor investment capability.
Approximately 60% of women entrepreneurs are managing traditional businesses which include saloons, boutiques etc but a greater number is working in the garments and the handicrafts sector. Rural women are given less of an opportunity in accessing information as compare to urban women. Circumstances are changing for the rural women as different business opportunities are arising but this does not mean that they have left their traditional roles.
Barriers faced by Women Entrepreneurs
The hardships faced by women in business are many in number. Some of these are perceived and some are self –inflicted.
If women want to work internationally, they lack the required business education and experience and access to various networks. The religious, cultural and societal limitations or attitudes also pose a hindrance to these women.
Women face difficulties in the area of financing, marketing, management and the initiation of the business. It also becomes hard for new business women to work in the ever changing business environment in terms of banking, political contacts, legal facets, customs tariffs and bureaucracy that makes new policies for the simplest of tasks.
Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs
Women can help in initiating businesses in washing soap factories, shoe laces, file tags & packing material, paper tubes, beauty saloons, ready made garments, embroidery, packaging, toys and dolls making, Rexene made products, vocational training institute, leather goods, hand-made carpets, marble products (handicrafts) acrylic sheets, pathological labs among other low investment business.
International Women Entrepreneurship
Internationally speaking, women are creating waves in the various business related fields in the developed countries. InEuropethere exist more than 10 million self employed women. In theUnited Statesthis number is 6.4 million. These 6.4 million women provide employment for another 9.2 million people and also create significant sales and profits. InCanada, there are 821000 women entrepreneurs who contribute 18,109 million dollars to the economy every year.
Looking at the neighboring countries, 84 % of the female labor is self employed inNepal. InBangladeshhowever, there are only 8 % self employed women.
Future Potential of Women Entrepreneurs:
Men have their will while women have their way. Women entrepreneurs are definitely making their way in business in our patriarchal society. There are a number of success stories and many more are in the making. Fresh women graduates are zealous to work and create their own business empires. The financial institutes should be more accommodating to these women with their micro- financing schemes. Women can create innovative ways for business opportunities and take part in their communities. Some of these women have the talent and the impetus to find jobs in male dominating professions. Women are capable of multi- tasking and can combat a multitude of hardships and challenges.
Steps required by the government
The business registration procedure inPakistanis a tough task for anyone. It is a long hard and a tedious process even for male businessmen. The government needs to ease the registration process for the greater benefit of the economy. In addition to this, for the registration of new businesses, the entrepreneur needs to go to the District Courts where the environment is normally not suited for women entrepreneurs. Needless to say, there should be an easy resolution making this process feasible for women.