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Women’s Empowerment and Social Enterprise: Qualitative Research Project
By: SDPI

Donors/Partners: British Council through Social Impact Consulting and Overseas Development Institute

Locale: Pakistan

Duration of Project: December 2016 to May 2017

Concept/Introduction: The role of women in national socio-economic development cannot be denied. In this regard, research conducted in different parts of the world has raised several questions.

Why there is greater representation of women in social enterprises than in traditional businesses?

  • What hurdles are faced by women in setting up and operating a social enterprise including the arrangement of necessary resources and finance
  • Does the existence of social enterprises provide a platform for women’s empowerment?
  • Are social enterprises challenging gender norms and stereotypes in the economy, providing the opportunities and access to resources for women, addressing key issues related to women’s and girls’ empowerment, causing a change in attitudes and behaviour of men towards women and easing the access or removal of barriers in the way of women towards leading social enterprise?
  • What differentiates social enterprises from Non-governmental or public sector initiatives?

The project was thus initiated to validate, through a policy-oriented qualitative research, the above points and others established during the literature review and key informant stage in different regions of the world including UK, India, Pakistan, Brazil and USA.

The research will utilize the knowledge of experts in each country to understand the different types of social enterprise activity, and the different challenges facing women and girls. It will provide relevant, useful information and recommendations for policy-makers, networks, funders and support providers. It will be challenging and provocative, stirring up debate and catalyzing action.

Objectives

  1. To verify the causality of social enterprise development with women empowerment
  2. To identify the challenges, demands and areas that may require capacity building for the social enterprise sector in Pakistan.
  3. To study the role and impact of business incubators, run by universities and by private organizations, in the development of social enterprise in Pakistan.

Activities

  1. Desk review of the already conducted research in the field
  2. 20 key informant interviews on questions focused on the topic and structured as per the desk review
  3. 200 responses to survey created by Social Impact Consulting and SDPI on the subject
  4. 03 Focus Group Discussions with stakeholders.
  5. 01 dialogue event

Findings

  1. There are significant differences between male and female led-social enterprises.
  2. There are areas in which there are no differences.
  3. Access to grant funding is one of the key barriers in setting up enterprise.
  4. Key ambitions include running and growing of social enterprise.