Gender review of SME policy

This review of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) policy from a gender perspective not only highlights gender gaps in the policy but also shares findings from diverse studies and ILO guidelines to underscore the significance of ensuring gender equality in policy documents and their implementation.

A gender sensitive SME policy is essential if the economy is going to work for women as well as men and to benefit from both women's and men's intellectual, entrepreneurial and physical labor in the small and medium enterprises of Pakistan. The ILO-commissioned review of the SME policy from a gender perspective attempts to not only highlight gender gaps in the policy but also shares findings from diverse studies and ILO guidelines to underscore the significance of ensuring gender equality in policy documents and their implementation. The main objective of the study was to review the SME Policy of Pakistan from a Gender perspective, particularly focusing on ILO Gender Equality Tools for Entrepreneurship development. The findings of the study were shared with and validated by some representatives of the relevant stakeholders including SMEDA, the Ministry of Industries, Labor and Women Development (MoWD), the Employers' Federation, Workers' Associations and NGOs. For the SME Policy to be gender sensitive and effective the macro policy environment needs to be much more conducive to the needs of the SMEs especially the women's enterprises. The ILO Conventions (e.g., 181, 110, 111) provide guidance from monitoring and regulation of private employment agencies to gender sensitivity in strategies and the ILO toolkits (e.g. GEMS, WEDGE) are some of the knowledge sources that can be leveraged for capacity building efforts towards achieving gender equality objectives in the SME sector.