International Development Planning Review

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women entrepreneurs in Pakistan

International Development Planning Review Ahead of print, 1–27.

Abstract

This study examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women entrepreneurs in Pakistan’s informal sector based on perceived sales increase/decrease and satisfaction with sales. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had profound economic effects, putting women entrepreneurs at considerable risk of losing income and sales growth as a result. Women reporting sales increases and sales satisfaction tended to be older, have lower education levels, have larger households, be married, own a home, have a supportive family and report an average family financial position. The impact of family support on sales variables depended on the size of the household. The type of business was also affected during the pandemic. This study is unique because it focuses on the impact of the pandemic at the household level where women have taken on increased responsibilities for work and family beyond those in ‘normal’ times. The household level of analysis is critical for understanding the dynamics of women’s informal, home-based businesses in the family context. Findings suggest the resilience, agility and multiplier effects of women entrepreneurs in the face of cultural, economic, social and institutional constraints encountered during the pandemic.

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