Behind the veil: women-only entrepreneurship training in Pakistan

Harrison, Pegram (2010) Behind the veil: women-only entrepreneurship training in Pakistan. International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, 2 (2). pp. 150-172.


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to understand the gender-related challenges of Pakistani women entrepreneurs, to explore these women's particular capacity-building needs, and to assess the impact of capacity-building programs on the establishment and performance of the women's enterprises.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper begins with a review of various theoretical contexts through which to understand women's entrepreneurship in an Islamic socio-cultural context. From this, the paper derived two working propositions: women in Islamic Pakistan face particular barriers to becoming entrepreneurs; these barriers can be reduced by women-only training in entrepreneurial competences. These propositions are examined in a three-part longitudinal process: a field survey to gather information about the training needs of current and potential women entrepreneurs, the design and delivery of a women-only training module, a follow-up survey with participants, 18 months later. Subjects and participants were randomly selected, and segmented according to entrepreneurial factors and characteristics.

Findings – Results confirm that the barriers perceived by women entrepreneurs in Islamic Pakistan can be alleviated through women-only training that allows participants to develop capital and competences. Greater clarity about learning outcomes desired and achieved by women entrepreneurs in an Islamic socio-cultural context can be a basis for designing improved training and education programmes, with a view to women's economic empowerment.

Practical implications – For women entrepreneurs living in an Islamic society, this analysis has implications for understanding the importance and effectiveness of entrepreneurial training especially in a women-only setting. For policy makers, it turns the spotlight on the need for creating an environment conducive to female entrepreneurship consistent with socio-cultural structures and gender asymmetries.

Originality/value – There are no comparable previous data on the learning preferences and outcomes of this particular

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Education and training; Entrepreneurialism; Islam; Pakistan; women
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2010 08:45
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2015 13:04

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