Launch of report & dialogue: Social Enterprise and Women Empowerment

21 Dec 2017
Islamabad, Pakistan

In Asia-Pacific economies, SMEs that have been the generator of economic output, employment and dynamism, will be a valuable source of innovation in the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals and women’s empowerment.This however is possible only if the right support is provided for them to transform and uplift businesses to serve as social enterprises.

Women’s role in harnessing the power of markets and businesses to tackle society’s challenges is now well established in ASEAN. Sustained growth in ASEAN has in fact been accompanied by increased women’s labour market participation to 60 per cent with women entrepreneurs now reaching close to 60 million - proportionally higher than other developing countries.

Women-led social enterprises are increasingly recognized as key to advancing women’s economic empowerment. Social enterprises create proportionally more jobs for women than the for-profit sector, they provide opportunities for entrepreneurial and leadership roles for women and can help deliver targeted products and services to meet the requirements of women and girls. In Pakistan, 20 per cent of social enterprises are led by women, compared to 5 per cent for other companies. This provides a unique opportunity to leverage social enterprise to further gender equality, innovation and productivity.

ESCAP and the British Council signed a memorandum of understanding to promote the growth of social enterprise and impact investment across the Asia-Pacific region as a means of supporting progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. The aim of the agreement is to cooperate to provide research, analysis, training and policy dialogues, while offering guidance to support policy makers and other stakeholders to formulate and implement policies and strategies that foster social enterprise and create enabling environments for social impact investment.