Digital economy facilitates women entrepreneurs in Pakistan: Masood Khan

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Washington D.C: Pak Ambassador to the United States Masood Khan has said massive transformation towards digital economy and changing societal norms are contributing towards incremental increase and visibility of women entrepreneurs in Pakistan.

“Nearly 191 million mobile cellular subscribers in a population of 240 million provides a solid base for exponential growth of not only women entrepreneurs of the country but also for fintech and IT companies to expand their business and provide technology solutions to overcome traditional and non-traditional barriers that have hampered full participation of women in the workforce,” he continued.

Ambassador Masood Khan made these remarks while talking to a group of researchers from John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) who recently undertook a study on “How Pakistani Women Use Technology Solutions to Overcome Barriers to Entrepreneurship.” The group comprised Estelle Thomas, Fatimata Ndiaye, Ishani Srivastava and Yiran Zha. The project was undertaken in collaboration with South Asia team at the Atlantic Council and the American Pakistan Foundation.

The group briefed the Ambassador about their visit to Pakistan, their meetings with women entrepreneurs, the methodology adopted for the research along with findings and recommendations of the study.

The study showed that Pakistani women were employing technology to jumpstart their entrepreneurial ventures, promote their businesses, and facilitate financial transactions. It recommended increased access to smartphones and the internet, leveraging financial technology products to facilitate financial inclusion of women entrepreneurs, and to create direct linkages between social media platforms and women entrepreneurs. In the long-term, promoting and implementing gender sensitization of regulations and business ecosystem, as well as adoption and acceptance of gender-positive norms and change in societal attitudes also constituted the recommendations of the study.

The Ambassador thanked the students for their research on a topic which constituted a priority area for the Government of Pakistan.

He also highlighted significant strides being made by the women of Pakistan in various fields and winning laurels for the country.

Masood Khan said that tapping women potential was among the foremost priorities of the Government and steps were being taken to financially empower them by facilitating their maximum access to technology and IT-based solutions.

He further said that rising trend towards women entrepreneurship had created a huge opportunity for fintech companies to introduce customized products to facilitate financial inclusion of women especially in the remote areas of the country.

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