Digital transformation breaks barrier for women to excel as entrepreneursBreaking

July 09, 2024

Muhammad Saleem

Digital transformation is shattering gender barriers, opening doors for women to shape up the future of e-businesses in Pakistan. Ms. Qurrat ul Ain, a businesswoman, told WealthPK that digital transformation was changing lives and the business landscape across Pakistan. Women, in particular, are positioned to capitalize on this exciting opportunity, she said. She said access to finance and markets was imperative for any businessperson. Without these two essential resources, neither women nor men can make considerable progress in their businesses. Like their counterparts, women should also establish their independent chambers in all industrial cities, which will resolve their specific business challenges efficiently.

She said women worldwide were changing the business landscape, and Pakistani women were equally capable of making their mark as successful entrepreneurs. Asked how the cellular and e-commerce industries work together to support women-led businesses in Pakistan, Ms. Robina, who runs an e-commerce website, explained to WealthPK that cellular networks provide the essential infrastructure – affordable data plans and reliable internet connectivity. These two facilities, she said, were empowering women to play a pivotal role in the digital economy. She said cellphones were changing the digital economy rapidly, as they allow entrepreneurs to manage their online tasks easily. “We can list our products on our platforms, keep in touch with our customers directly, engage them on social media, and even respond to queries instantly – all through our cell phones,” Robina added.

“Sensing the growing demand of digital economy, I am planning to train the local girls. This will enable them to earn for their families while working from home. Through digital skills training, these women can exhibit their skills online and sell their products not just nationally, but internationally as well.” Imran Ahmed, an official from a cellular network provider company, said small businesses were getting special data packages to run their businesses smoothly. He said some women entrepreneurs had even taken advantage of message services, using their business names as titles. Besides, he said women entrepreneurs were also buying efficient web hosting. Efficient hosting ensures faster loading time for their e-commerce websites, he explained. It's clear that women entrepreneurs are effectively harnessing the power of the digital era, he added.

Ms Robina said digital tools were available online, enabling every segment of the society to excel. Now, responsibility lies with women entrepreneurs to embrace these digital tools and evolve their business strategies to keep pace with the changing digital world, she said. She urged policymakers to explore markets where women entrepreneurs could thrive, working alongside men to strengthen the national economy. She said cellular and e-commerce segments were offering a virtual marketplace, allowing women entrepreneurs to operate from home and reach a wider customer base easily. With the help of digital transformation, women could easily manage their children more effectively, she added.

Imran Ahmed said still there was a lot to be done regarding digital literacy. He said it's a challenging task for the government to ensure digital literacy for rural women with limited access to computers and smartphones. These women excel in creating handmade products, but lack exposure to digital education due to multiple factors. Financing is not the only hurdle, and social norms and values in rural areas also create significant barriers for women, he pointed out. “The policymakers must address two crucial issues including equipping women with digital literacy and dismantling the patriarchal barriers. Success in these areas will enable rural women to showcase their talents and play a vital role in the economy,” Ms Robina suggested.

Credit: INP-WealthPk