PESHAWAR: Women from different backgrounds said on Tuesday that they had defied all the odds to become businesswomen since it gave them financial as well as social empowerment.
“Women are not allowed to go out of house and do job. I think there is nothing wrong in starting a business and becoming financially independent,” said Shakira Afridi, a young woman from tribal area who had started a boutique after doing her MBA.
Other women who have displayed their products at an exhibition organised by Women Business Development Centre (WBDC) here at a local hotel also expressed similar view. Around 50 stalls all displaying women’s products and handicrafts on the opening day of three-day exhibition showed that women could prove their talent if they got encouragement from the family and government.
The centre, set up by Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has been holding such exhibitions to facilitate businesswomen display their products and develop market linkages. The women entrepreneurs were seen asking visitors for feedback to bring improvements in their products.
Saima, hailing from Charsadda, said that she started a few years ago making artificial jewellery. She said that even her family resisted the idea in the beginning as they thought she would not be able to market it.
“Now I have employed 25 women and we all make handmade jewellery. Families should support and trust their women in such endeavours,” she said.
Zarmina who runs a boutique and enjoys support of her family said that other hurdles could easily be overcome by women entrepreneurs if they got the much-needed family support for their work.
Maria, a married woman and boutique owner, said that when a woman started to work she had to sacrifice a lot as she had to take care of both her house and business. She believes that men and women both should work to give a better life to their children.
“A woman should do what she wants to do instead of wasting time. Yes, one has to sacrifice a lot, but nothing comes easy,” she said in response to a question.
The women talked of social hurdles, problems in marketing and lack of guidance and finances when they started their
businesses, but said that problems did not discourage them and now they had become empowered.
Embroidered shawls, women’s wear, antique jewellery, handbags and decoration pieces were on display which attracted visitors.