Research challenges and barriers faced by Women




of barriers to Women entrepreneurship in Pakistan

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The motive behind this
research is to find out challenges and barriers faced by Women entrepreneur
specially in Pakistan and to what extent these factors are affecting women in



The focus of this
research is to study the barriers faced by Women entrepreneurs in Pakistan and
the extent of effect. Rates of entrepreneurial activities indicates significant
change in entrepreneurship across world (Hayton et al., 2002) and in women’s
entrepreneurship predominantly (Kelly et al., 2010).  Pakistan ranked as 143 out of 144 countries in the “Global Gender
Gap Report of 2016” on basis of opportunities and economic participation for
women. Pakistan along with Iran has lowest number of female entrepreneur in all
countries of the world. (GEM: 2012).  It means that almost 49% of total population
of Pakistan (Women) is not actively participating in economic activities that
is not good indication for future economic growth and development. There is
vital need to motivate and encourage women toward entrepreneurship in Pakistan,
it is important to find out the challenges and barriers that are faced by
Pakistani women specifically, that ceasing women participation and becoming
barrier in their way of entrepreneurship.

Study on women’s
entrepreneurship has mostly adopted individual centric approaches to explain
entrepreneurial practices and behaviors and has often overlooked country specific
aspects that may be a justification for the variance in the rates of women’s
entrepreneurial across world. (Saurav et al.,
2016) The current research is region focused initiative, in which the
focus is to find out challenges faces by Pakistanis female entrepreneurs.

The outcomes of study
will make it easy to understand the challenges faced by women and will help to
find out ways to overcome these issues, in order encourages participation and
women entrepreneurship in Pakistan.







 In the last few decades, entrepreneurship has
been a developing and continuous growing area for research in all around world,
especially in developed countries. But what is entrepreneurship or being an entrepreneur
is important to start off with a discussion with definition to establish
understanding what we mean by this concept “The word entrepreneur is derived
from the French verb enterprendre that means to undertake”. (Singh & Belwal
2008), (Desai 1999).  We can define an
entrepreneur as ‘One who undertakes a commercial enterprise and who is an organizational
creator and innovator” (Gartner, 1990; Gartner et al., 2004) quoted in Mordi et
al. (2010).

concerns the environment conditioning opportunity, the process of discovering opportunity,
the evaluation and exploitation of opportunity, and the individual
decision-makers who do these things”. (Shane and Venkataraman ,2000).
Entrepreneur is one who take initiative, responsibility and ownership for a new
business and mostly are open to novelty.

“Female entrepreneurs are
defined as those who use their knowledge and resources to develop or create new
business opportunities, who are actively involved in managing their businesses,
and own at least 50 per cent of the business and have been in operation for
longer than a year” (Farr-Wharton and Brunetto, 2009).

Earlier studies on the
challenges encountered by females who are engaged in entrepreneurial activities
is well established (Ravi,
2017). Women with entrepreneurial goals confront many difficulties. Some of
these difficulties include lack of capital, the lack of required education and
training and experience. Other obstacles such as family obligations, social
norms and gender discrimination additionally hamper female entrepreneurs. (Chowdhury
and Amin, 2011; Garten etal., 2013). The four barriers of discussion in this
research to women entrepreneurs are social stigma, lack of education, lack of
capital and lack of family support to enter business.

This variable selected in
this research are used before by Usama & Amber in 2012 along with other
variables and proposed Conceptual Framework for specially for women
entrepreneurs. Shikha Mahajan also discuss these barriers to women
entrepreneurship in 2013 in Women Entrepreneurship in India. Due to limited
time and resources of study only four variables are selected for research.



Women in Pakistan faces
serious social disapproval when they try start their own business. To most of
Pakistani’s marriage is the ultimate end of a girl and the idea of women
entrepreneurship is just waste of time for them. “Women have power within the
households but at social level they are economically and socially disadvantaged
in terms of ownership of resources. The local interpretations of purdah prevent
them to take part in social, economic, cultural and political activities. In
such circumstances it becomes difficult for women to start their ventures and
if they do, they come across several gender based problems which de-motivate
and reduce their growth aspirations.”.( Madiha & Ayesha 2016).

“Females being females
are discriminated since their birth. Then throughout their lives they should
face this discrimination from the parents and other family members. The society
adds fuel to fire and makes their lives miserable. It has become very difficult
for them to move in society till their marriage. Once she becomes wife, then
other engagements overshadow her personality. As an entrepreneur one has faced
all the above and other discrimination as female entrepreneur. Women, who are
engaged in some sort of entrepreneurial activities, have a very poor image in
Pakistan society. They have been placed as morally corrupt and socially disturbed
segment of society”. (Muhammad Naseer ,2014)


of Education:

Pakistan is among those countries where rate of literacy is very
low. Especially, female literacy rate is 45% against literacy rate
male that is 69%. “Women often lack the combination of education,
vocational and technical skills, and work experience needed to support the
development of highly productive businesses”. (Shikha,2013)

Hadary (2004:4) argues
that “females also tend not to have the relevant education and experience in
starting and managing a business and this in most cases leads to less potential
for success. Acquiring the relevant skills and knowledge about managing a
business venture can also be more difficult for women, since they then often
have a double work burden and childcare responsibilities. Resultantly, women
are educationally less well-equipped to manage some kinds of businesses”. Female entrepreneurs lacked training, education experience and management
abilities to a more greater level than small businesses, because of limited
previous business experience.

Women of developing
countries like Pakistan faces poverty along with low standard formal education
and social status creates unusual problems and challenges for women
entrepreneurship. In developed economies women have access to the same
education and jobs as men, but important differences still exist and they seem
to be shrinking at a very slow pace.
While women
in developed countries approach a similar education and occupations facilities as
men, yet essential contrasts still exist and they appear to contract at a
moderate pace. but significant differences still exist there and they seem to
be decrease at a very slow pace.


of Capital:

Access to capital is a
standout amongst the most widely effecting challenge that business people face
and this is particularly valid for females who are additionally impeded by lack
of personal identification, absence of property in their own name and the requirement
for their spouse’s countersignature on many documents.

“A ccess to financial
capital has been reported as one of the main challenges faced by women trying
to start a business” (Hisrich and O’Brien, 1981). “Researchers have shown that women
entrepreneurs face greater difficulty in obtaining financial capital for the
start-up of their business ventures than men.”(Brush, 1992; Orhan, 2001;
Verheul and Thurik, 2001; Jennings and Brush, 2013). “The absence of personal
financial wealth and the difficulty faced in accessing capital, can adversely
affect the development and growth of female business ventures.” Accordingto
Coleman (2000), “Access to capital is a critical issue for small businesses.
Without sufficient capital, small firms are unable to develop new products and
services or grow to meet demand” (p. 37). In many cases, women do not have the
amount of personal financial wealth to fund their business activities. To fund
their business ventures, women entrepreneurs often rely on number of options
such as credit cards, personal savings, family assistance, friends, profits and
bank loans (Coleman and Carsky, 1996; Haynes and Helms, 2000).


of Family Support:

Sometimes while the
family may influence females to feel regretful of ignoring family and household
obligations in her quest for business commitments. Social conventions cultural
norms may keep down a female from starting and running her own business. In
Pakistan family system are strong. It is very difficult for women to start and
keep running their businesses without their support and motivation. Female in
Pakistan must seek permission from their parents, brothers or husband in case
if they are married.

“Nearly 2/3rd of married
women entrepreneurs expressed their business idea first to their husband and
got their support. The reasons expressed were for getting consent and financial
support. Similar findings were reported in a study of 1000 small business
owners in U.S”. (Stevenson, 1988). “Women owners were greatly influenced by
their husbands and families in making a career choice. Ninety percent stated
that they need the support (emotional support) of their husbands and families.
Most of the male business owners in the same study stated that their families
had not influenced their career choice. In contrast, husbands often received
credit for their wives’ small business careers.”( Rajani and Sarada , 2002)

Women, particularly of
developing countries, need the backing of their husbands because of traditional
role expected to play within the family structure is a challenge to
entrepreneurship (ILO, 1986). ” Other reasons female entrepreneurs need spouse
support more than their male counterparts are: first, cultural values conflict
with women entrepreneurs’ need for freedom of movement and socialising with
men; second, family responsibilities may be involved; third, women often lack
the confidence in operating a business, and fourth, financial institutions are
not usually responsive to the idea of giving assistance to women “(ILO, 1986).










Lack of Education








H1:  Social Stigma will be negatively related to
Women entry into entrepreneurship.

H2:   Lack of education is negatively related to
the women entry into entrepreneurship

H3:   Lack of capital is negatively related to the
women entry into entrepreneurship.

H4:  Lack of family support is negatively related
to women entry into entrepreneurship.



Research Design and Methods


In this study a
quantitative & exploratory design of research is used to examines and
explain factors that are negatively effecting women entrepreneurship in
Pakistan. The research is quantative and exploratory in nature because it met
with the standards defined above by (Brink & Wood 1998:5; Burns & Grove

The research population
of this study is all the women entrepreneur, who are running small medium or
large businesses in all around Pakistan. Non-probability convenience sampling
technique will be used in this research. The sample size will be 40 women
entrepreneurs from different cities of Pakistan. “In most ex post facto and
experimental research, samples of 30 or more are recommended” As said by R
hill: (1998) “In multivariate research (eg. multiple regression) sample size
should be at least ten times larger than the number of variables being
considered.”. Sample size choice is depended on budget of research as well as
statistical requirement of study. Roscoe, 1975; Alreck & Settle, 1995. As
the budget of study is low it doesn’t allow very large sample size.

The data will be gathered
from female entrepreneur who are running their business in Lahore, Multan, Bahawalpur,
Khanewal and Islamabad. As it convenient to gather data from these cities and
it is combination of small, medium and large cities.

In this research, a
Structured questionnaire will be used to gather data from target sample to
answer research question and to fulfil the objectives of study. Questionnaire
is adopted in this research, was used by NATIONAL CENTRE FOR WOMEN DEVELOPMENT
ABUJA, NIGERIA. Few amendments are done in questionnaire as per requirement of
variables of study.

The study will cross
sectional in nature as all the data will be gather at once. Questionnaires will
be send through Email and other electronic means e.g fax, google forms or
personally where it is possible. The data gather from questionnaire will
proceed and correlation and regression test will be applied on it to get
results of study.


and Limitation:

Our study shows that Social Stigma, Lack of education,
Lack of capital And Lack of family support are perceived barriers to start
business with noteworthy strength. These factors are effecting women
entrepreneurship in negative manner to a significant extent. To encourage Women
entrepreneurship in Pakistan these challenges must tackle seriously.

It is critical to study home-based along with
non-home-based women entrepreneurs to get an exact idea of the position of women
entrepreneurs in Pakistan. Future researches are needed to done
in both the urban and rural areas of Pakistan to explore female
entrepreneurship by comparing their differences. Future researches should also
focus on how these barriers of women entrepreneurship can be decreased how can
young girls should be motivated toward entrepreneurship



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