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World Bank to support Pakistani women entrepreneurs

ISLAMABAD: The World Bank will pay more attention to women entrepreneurs in Pakistan by providing them additional support at the technical, academic and policy levels, according to a statement on Monday.

The World Bank has started reaching out to more businesswomen to know their problems and to serve them in the best possible way, said the statement issued by the Islamabad Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (WICCI).

A World Bank team comprising private and financial sector specialist, South Asia Region, Yasuhiko Yuge, Strategy and Operations Officer, Maria Paulina Mogolion and Sarmad visited the ICCI and met with founder president Samina Fazil, former vice president Naima Ansari and other members of the chamber, it said.

The delegation members said that the role of women in creating, running and growing businesses is recognised as fundamental for growth and poverty reduction, according to the statement.

They were of the view that some women entrepreneurs face larger obstacles in accessing credit, training, networks and information, barriers in the legal and policy frameworks and as a result may not achieve the same level of performance as their male counterparts.

Fazil and Ansari said that several interventions have not been effective in eliminating gender-based distortions, resulting in the lack of opportunities for women to prosper, it said. Fazil said that women are still dying in childbirth, and they continue to lack voice and decision-making ability and their economic opportunities remain very constrained, which is unfair.

She called upon all the authorities concerned to look to the issue of women empowerment from the perspective of social justice and strive to take up gender sensitisation beyond governance mechanism to make it a movement.

Ansari said that the government should initiate plans to find how women entrepreneurs can contribute more to the quality and direction of the economic and social development.

Thrust on gender equality issues will have a positive impact on social development goals, she added. Women have strong economic rights in Islam and there is a tradition of women in business.

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