loader image

SheMeansBusiness Holds Session on Women Empowerment at UNGA

A young Pakistani woman, Saira Jahan opened a small restaurant ‘Moksha’ in Gojal, the Northern mountainous region of Pakistan to financially support her family. Enter COVID-19 and her business was seriously compromised.

In a bid to salvage her restaurant, Saira took to digital marketing through Facebook and successfully led it to a gradual recovery. By the time COVID-19 eased and the region reopened to tourism, Moksha had become a widely known brand that had begun to witness a drastic increase in customer footfall.

Meanwhile nearly 1000 kilometers south, in one of Pakistan’s bustling metropolises, Lahore, another woman Nida Jaffery is exploring new horizons for her home-based enterprise. She excels in cooking delicious traditional breakfast dishes like Murgh Channay, Nihari, Paye, Qeema along with various types of Parathay.

Not long ago, she saw a business prospect in her vocation and arranged a small online set up to deliver home-cooked breakfast to customers. As COVID-19 prompted shuttering of the entire hospitality industry, Nida used digital marketing to reach new customers to grow her business. Currently, her home delivery business ‘Nashtay Walay’ is very popular amongst food enthusiasts in Lahore.

Saira and Nida are two of the 9000 women in Pakistan and hundreds of thousands of others around the world whose stories echoed in a session of the 76th United Nations General Assembly, which coincided with the 5th anniversary of Facebook’s ‘SheMeansBusiness’ program.

The program has trained multiples of women in digital marketing and financial management for business success. Facebook Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg led the session to inform how Facebook is working in tandem with different partnering institutions around the world to enable and empower women inclusion globally.

‘SheMeansBusiness’ initiative was launched in 2016 as part of Facebook’s long-term commitment to socio-economic empowerment of women, particularly across developing countries, by helping women entrepreneurs unlock their true potential.

The program supports women-owned enterprises to enter the digital economy, through skills training and business inspiration. Under the initiative, Facebook and its collaborating partners have trained more than one and a half million women so far across 40 countries.

‘SheMeansBusiness’ came to Pakistan in 2020. Since then, it has actively worked for women’s empowerment in collaboration with public and private sector organizations. The program trained women in digital and financial skills while focusing on accelerating the growth of small and medium businesses owned and led by women.

The program seeks to support United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5, which calls for achieving gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls; and SDG 8, a global call for decent work and economic growth for everyone.

Gender discrimination and inequality, economic disenfranchisement and digital and financial exclusion are some of the critical barriers for women. Which Facebook and its partners have been striving to remove, especially across rural economies.

The entrepreneurs were given confidence, skill, and access to groundbreaking digital tools. These tools also include Facebook’s family of apps to help them overcome inherent hindrances; in women participation, access to the community, building connections, and achieving business success.

The COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacted the female workforce and women-led businesses around the world. To tackle the issue, Facebook expanded the scope of SheMeansBusiness by adding trainings on business resiliency through financial education to help female entrepreneurs navigate their businesses out of the crisis.

In Pakistan, a financial education module was implemented in partnership with State Bank and USAID to help women entrepreneurs improve their financial management skills to ensure the sustainability of the businesses and the journey goes on.

Programs like SheMeansBusiness are crucial because Pakistan has still a long way to go, to achieve gender parity while leveling the playing field for women entrepreneurs and professionals.

Female entrepreneurs continue to face a lot of challenges in establishing, growing, and sustaining their businesses, some of which include gender-based stereotypes, lack of access to digital and financial resources, and opportunities for growth.

These issues require long-term planning and execution to be resolved on a permanent basis, however, digital tools are enabling women in Pakistan to financial independence.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to linger on, it is extremely crucial for small and medium businesses to acquire digital skills and access to digital and financial resources.

While initiatives like ‘SheMeansBusiness’ continue to make a meaningful impact in Pakistan and other markets, we need to ensure that similar trainings and enablement programs are accessible to more and more enterprising women, who are working hard to make a difference for their families and the country.

courtesy: propakistani

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.