Women entrepreneurs, female CEOs, female partners, mothers, sisters, daughters, boss lady, is there any role a woman can’t fill? The answer is NO!
We can go about raving about the amazing work of our fellow Pakistani women, but words would fall short. However, we can certainly say that these women are inspirations and role models for the upcoming generation.
It was a hard task to select which women-led startups had inspired the most. Hence, even though all of them do, today we will talk about 5 Pakistani women-led startups that are making a difference in the world.
5 Pakistani Women-Led Startups That Are Making Waves
1. Sehat Kahani
Sehat Kahani has become a well-known name across the county. The startup focuses on proving a solution that caters to the popular ‘Doctor Bahu’ concept we often hear about in Pakistan. According to the Medical Council of Pakistan, more than 50% of female doctors drop out of work after getting married.
In many households, despite living in a progressive time and era, women are expected to stop working and stay at home, taking care of the husband, in-laws, family members, and children. However, Sehat Kahani has provided a unique opportunity for these women, a work from home solution.
The digital platforms allow patients from all corners of the country to connect with any doctor in just 60 seconds. Moreover, it gives freedom and empowers the doctors and other female members who are associated with the platform, giving them livelihood.
2. Xera | Curvy & Co.
Dr. Zehra Hussain is a proud curvy lady who encourages inclusivity through her platform, Xera. She is Pakistan’s first body activist who is helping thousands of women feel comfortable in their own skin. Moreover, helping change the perception of healthy women in society without fat-shaming.
I always wanted to represent the plus-size/curvy women of Pakistan in a positive light and making an inclusive platform through Facebook groups was one way to do it. XERA Curvy & co, my pioneering, rtw brand was another.Both these entities tackled body shaming and size inclusion in the fashion industry. Because people were sharing their body image issues and shaming stories on the platform, and simultaneously getting access to proper sized clothing, I realised its importance.
The start-up is not just a support page where women speak out about their issues but is also a brand that provides these amazing ladies plus-size clothes as per their given measurements. It is a safe space for women who are looking for fellows who can relate to their situations and possibly provide them with advice and solutions.
Pakistani women would message me from all over the world to appreciate the space where they have gained so much confidence just to live daily lives! A relatable platform for women where we can all uplift and accept each other, especially regarding our bodies was much needed.
We are happy to see that Pakistanis have finally begun to accept themselves with the help of such platforms.
3. Fresh Basket
Meet Shafaq Sewani, the co-founder of Fresh Basket. As per Sewani, her startup is Karachi’s ‘first agri-retail chain which promotes healthy eating’ by providing easy access to fresh, natural and hygienic produce and pantry items. It initially started off as a small bakery in 2018 and grew, today, it has 3 branches.
However, just like other women, Sewani also found it a tough task to maintain a healthy work-life balance. In an interview with a local newspaper, she shared:
Finding a good work-life balance is a prominent struggle faced by many, including me. Women often feel more conflicted between work and family life due to social and cultural norms.
She was inspired by her husband. She says “He always talked about how the good quality products that businesses export directly from the farms are never available in our [local] markets. So, one fine day I decided to quit my job and work full time towards this goal and the rest is history.”
4. Polly & Other Stories
Polly & other stories is a colourful startup which was founded by Amneh Sheikh Farooqui. The store houses and curates artisan-made products all across Pakistan. Online and physically present, the platform is enabling 1,200 artists and 92 small businesses.
Women in Pakistan have to work harder to be taken seriously, especially if you’re in a sector like craft which is seen as soft, feminine and even redundant. Breaking into the e-commerce space is a challenge too, as it has always been male-dominated. It is much harder to raise funds as a woman — most woman-led businesses in Pakistan are small or micro-businesses and get overlooked for funding and support.
-Amenah Sheikh Farooqui
Founded by Arusha Imtiaz, Edjunction is an educational platform that helps parents stay in touch with school teachers to learn about their child’s progress. Previously, Imtiaz has worked with Franchere and many local and international organizations on educational solutions.
Tell us which woman-led startup inspires you the most.
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