National Commission on the Status of Women Chairperson Nilofar Bakhtiar has stressed that globally women, along with their existing roles in agriculture, health, education, etc, are making inroads into the fourth industrial revolution that will drive global and regional knowledge economies.

“Women are moving into a growing space as innovators, entrepreneurs, start-up founders, techies, businesswomen as well as home-based workers,” she remarked after inaugurating 100 free shops for women entrepreneurs at a shopping mall.

The Islamabad Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI), in collaboration with the management of the mall, has set up the free shops for women entrepreneurs for three months.

This comes as women-owned businesses continue to face specific obstacles, many of which were present before the pandemic and have been exacerbated over the past two years.

Many women entrepreneurs had to either shrink their physical businesses to virtual ones and many others had to close down their ventures. However, this opportunity has encouraged women entrepreneurs to market their products at one of the biggest malls in Islamabad.

Speaking at the event, IWCCI founding president Samina Fazil said that it was for the first time in the history of Pakistan that 100-plus women entrepreneurs got access to shops at a mall.

“We are overwhelmed by the mall initiative to empower women, which will help them scale up their businesses,” she said.

IWCCI President Naima Ansari said that those shops would not only provide a marketplace for women but would also enable women to interact, understand demand and price their products accordingly.

The move is also aimed at eliminating the concept of middleman as shops are given to women entrepreneurs from far-off areas like Quetta, Multan, Bahawalpur, etc.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th, 2022.

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