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Exploring the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on women entrepreneurs in Pakistan

Faisal Mustafa (Department of UCP Business School, University of Central Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan)
Ambreen Khursheed (Department of UCP Business School, University of Central Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan)
Maham Fatima (Department of UCP Business School, University of Central Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan)
Marriam Rao (Department of UCP Business School, University of Central Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan)

International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship

ISSN: 1756-6266

Article publication date: 10 June 2021

Issue publication date: 17 August 2021

6193

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact of COVID-19 lockdown on micro-businesses owned by women borrowers of microfinance institutions and to provide policy suggestions to assist women entrepreneurs in managing such an unexpected crisis from a qualitative perspective within developing countries such as Pakistan.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopts a qualitative research design to explore the impact of COVID-19 on women’s entrepreneurial activities. Seven women entrepreneurs were selected and semi-structured interviews with focused group discussion under case study research design are used. Thereby providing a contemporary view of the issues faced by women entrepreneurs in the period of huge social and economic upheaval.

Findings

The results provide valuable insights about how the COVID-19 crisis affected women entrepreneurs by particularly considering household income, business sales, lifestyle and mental health. The liquidation of women-led businesses indicated the necessity to reconsider creativity and digitalization for business survival. Moreover, the results also revealed that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the physical, mental and economic well-being of women highlights the need for considering gender gap issues in forming response policies for COVID-19 in developing countries.

Originality/value

As the COVID-19 crisis is a recent and existing phenomenon, this study is among the first to explore particularly the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on micro-enterprises mainly owned and managed by women. Thereby claiming that COVID-19 not only physically but also psychologically affected women entrepreneurs. Moreover, the study highlights a need of skill focused training programs for women entrepreneurs to make sure that they can protect their businesses during such difficult times.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to the anonymous reviewers for providing the insightful comments and suggestions.

Citation

Mustafa, F., Khursheed, A., Fatima, M. and Rao, M. (2021), "Exploring the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on women entrepreneurs in Pakistan", International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 187-203. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJGE-09-2020-0149

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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