Women in South Asia confront a staggering range of legal, regulatory, and cultural barriers to economic participation. While many donors have targeted women’s economic empowerment in the region, insufficient attention has been paid to reforming the economic and political institutions that limit women’s opportunities to thrive through entrepreneurship. Closing that gender gap is critical to ensuring prosperity in South Asia, and to making sure that the region’s democracies deliver for all citizens.
To address this issue, CIPE has built a regional network of women’s business associations and chambers of commerce, who have become effective advocates in their respective countries, working to pass reforms to lower barriers to women’s economic participation. CIPE’s program improves the capacity of women’s business organizations in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka; now, these organizations are having a positive ripple effect on the business environment for women entrepreneurs, and empowering women as equal stakeholders in the region’s political and economic systems.