Constraints to female-run microenterprises in Pakistan: The role of goals and aspirations

Policy brief Firms

  • The national rate of active labour participation in Pakistan is low, at a little less than 44%, with a disproportionate gender gap. The rate of female participation equals only one-third of the male participation rate at 22%.
  • This study tests if low-cost, light-touch training to boost aspirations and setting goals for the future can help in promoting microenterprise growth among female entrepreneurs.
  • Over 1,000 women entrepreneurs who had recently taken an enterprise loan from the National Rural Support Programme (NRSP) were selected to watch an inspirational video and undertake a short goal-setting exercise.
  • The intervention seemed to have an immediate short-term impact on hard work and perseverance. We find that women who watched videos stressing the importance of hard work and grit were 12% more likely to persevere and re-attempt the hard task after failing it at least once.
  • The results suggest that role models matter for bringing positive changes in behaviour and that the presence of male members of the family is not essential to bring about positive changes in female behaviour.