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A priority action roadmap for women's economic empowerment (PARWEE) amid COVID-19: a co-creation approach

Sandrine Bonin (Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri, India)
Wafa Singh (Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri, India)
Veena Suresh (Social Work, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri, India)
Tarek Rashed (Civilizology LLC, Sheridan, Wyoming, USA)
Kuiljeit Uppaal (Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Pune, India)
Rajiv Nair (Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri, India)
Rao R. Bhavani (Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri, India)

International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship

ISSN: 1756-6266

Article publication date: 5 August 2021

Issue publication date: 17 August 2021




The study aims to co-create a “priority action roadmap for women's economic empowerment” based on women's top priorities to charting recovery directions. Doing so contributes to the growing body of knowledge on COVID-19 literature in at least four areas: assessing COVID-19 impacts on women entrepreneurs; mapping these impacts with four interdependent women's entrepreneurial ecosystem components; innovating a co-creation methodology based on remote participatory research; and providing a replicable model to perform action-oriented research in the context of COVID-19 impacts.


A co-creation methodology is proposed, combining systems-thinking and remote participatory research to engage women entrepreneurs and institutional stakeholders to prioritize impact, response actions and recovery needs in the wake of COVID-19. A ranking exercise using the analytic hierarchy process was used to derive ranking and assess user inputs' consistency.


The study exemplifies the integration of participatory methods and mathematical tool to engage stakeholders in prioritizing recovery work. PARWEE action items ranked by entrepreneurs and vetted by institutional stakeholders cover: access to finances, capacity building, health care, public and private partnership, marketing opportunities and formation of active advocacy groups to voice out women entrepreneurs' needs to institutional stakeholders. Results show a slight difference in the ranking of priority actions between experience owners and fresh starters.


This study innovated a new co-creation methodology for remotely engaging stakeholders of the women's entrepreneurial ecosystem, which is grounded in evidence and provides a replicable model for performing action-oriented research.



This research was supported by the Centre for Women's Empowerment and Gender Equality at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham. We are immensely grateful to the Chancellor of the University, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, for giving us the opportunity to serve and learn.

The authors would like to express their deep gratitude to Dilip Chenoy – Secretary General of FICCI, former CEO of NSDC, Rajesh Agrawal- Executive Director, India Trade Promotion Organisation, Department of Commerce, GOI, Anand Selvakesari – Head-US Consumer Banking at Citigroup, Inc, Meg Jones – Former Chief, Economic Empowerment, UN Women, and Ela Lonescue – Partnership Specialist with UN Women for their contributions as a webinar panelists to discuss the results of this project and interact with women entrepreneurs and provide them concrete action items to move forward in these times of COVID-19.

The authors would also like to acknowledge the contribution of women entrepreneurs in this study's co-creation process and wholeheartedly thank them for their passionate participation throughout the process of interviews, workshops, and/or the webinar. We thank the following women entrepreneurs in particular, who participated in the interviews and the workshops Dhanvita Sathyanand, Dr Shabana Khan, Gowri S Ramani, Krishnamani Ballal, Kulpreet Freddy Vesuna, Monika Vasudeva, Monita Sethi, Richa Khetarpal, Sandhya R. Rao, Sukanya Rao, Thakur Reshma Singh, Tripta Garg, and Vani Sharma. Finally, we acknowledge the amazing contribution of the representative women entrepreneurs who took part in the interviews and workshops and volunteered to interact with panelists during the final webinar Darshan Kaur Khalsa, Dhanvita Sathyanand, Manmeet Singh, Nisha Dhanuka, Pooja Singhal, Sriparna Das Chakraborty and Suchana Bera.


Bonin, S., Singh, W., Suresh, V., Rashed, T., Uppaal, K., Nair, R. and Bhavani, R.R. (2021), "A priority action roadmap for women's economic empowerment (PARWEE) amid COVID-19: a co-creation approach", International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 142-161.



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