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This report by APC member Media Matters for Democracy can also be found on the Digital Rights Monitor website.
The idea of growing women’s leadership is more radical than it should be. Women do constitute almost half of the world’s population after all – they contribute endlessly to the workforce, often in unpaid, unappreciated categories. Talking specifically of countries like Pakistan, women do hold the primary household management responsibilities – ranging from managing the budgets, nurturing the children, ensuring management of household tasks and chores to effectively managing relationships with the larger clan. And yet, even in households where the woman is responsible for "management" of everything, in the end, the decision making lies with the male head of the family. This all too common household dynamic often plays its role in undermining women’s contributions at workplace.
However, things are changing. There is a lot more public debate on women’s professional worth. And there is an increasing number of women who are now venturing out on their own – as business owners, founders of startups, executives and enablers. Technology and the growing number of people connected to the internet and digital services has definitely been an enabler. The impact of technology on women in business can be seen through the endless retail pages being operated by young female students trying to monetize their crafts and products. There are examples of women monetizing their own content and creating successful businesses out of it. Most importantly, we have seen technology offering new hope and a wider scope to home-based workers who were previously operating with limited access and within small markets. While some of the more technologically savvy have set up their own pages and websites to reach a larger market, others are benefiting from tech-based startups, especially those led by women to streamline their marketing, product placement and retail.
This report is a thematic exploration of tech-based, women-led startups, aiming to map the growing nature of women’s interventions in the tech-based business industry and the overall impact on other women in the workforce. It presents the hopes, aspirations, challenges and ambitions of a number of women who have ventured into the exciting and exhausting world of tech-based business ownership.