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Exploring entrepreneurial motivations and barriers : a study of female business owners in Pakistan

Tariq, Jasim


Jasim Tariq


Katy Graley


Female entrepreneurship, with a focus on mothers is a relatively unexplored topic in the context of Pakistan, yet it is a significant growing theme of literature on female entrepreneurship in the western context (Ekinsmyth, 2013).

This study seeks to examine the experiences of one particular subset of female entrepreneurs in Pakistan i.e. those who set up businesses in order to enable them to both work and care for young children. The focus of this study is on their entrepreneurial experiences, rather than on their businesses. Therefore, the objective of this study is to find out how they construct their experiences of the move into entrepreneurship, how they draw upon prevailing discourses of enterprise and motherhood in making sense of their career transition, and the challenges that they perceive within their current career.

Thus, the findings of this research will help us determine how these women weave a path between the discourses of intensive mothering and enterprise. Importantly, it will help us ascertain how becoming self-employed was deemed preferable by them to working for others in the backdrop of a conservative social and religious environment (Roomi and Harrison, 2010) in which they have to operate their businesses in Pakistan. This is a qualitative study, using a career narrative methodology and semi-structured interviews. The participants were thirty female business owners with young children, from three different localities of Islamabad categorised on a class basis.

This study focuses on mumpreneurship in Pakistan as a relatively new and understudied phenomenon in the country. It captures the lived experiences of women entrepreneurs with young children and investigates their motivations, the factors affecting their businesses, the challenges they face, and their survival strategies. It also explores entrepreneurship’s impacts on women’s lives, particularly affecting their ascribed gender roles and contributions to social transformation. The findings of this research suggest that female entrepreneurship could be an effective way of involving women in social and economic development who are chiefly viewed as homemakers in the Pakistani cultural environment. Therefore, this thesis also contributes to women’s empowerment and makes a strong case for home based entrepreneurship for Pakistani mumpreneurs amid tight social and religious prescriptions in which they generally have to operate.

The research findings also has the potential to address women’s previously unexplored real challenges in terms of religious and social conservatism especially with regards to the impact of religion on their entrepreneurial careers. It is argued that in religiously conservative societies like Pakistan, female entrepreneurship can bring about social change by normalizing women’s presence in the public sphere, particularly in business, and therefore it should be supported and promoted.


Tariq, J. (2016). Exploring entrepreneurial motivations and barriers : a study of female business owners in Pakistan. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Aug 8, 2017
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Business
Public URL
Additional Information Business School, The University of Hull
Award Date Aug 1, 2016


Thesis (3.3 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2016 Tariq, Jasim. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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