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