STAFF REPORT ISB: Constraints faced by women in joining the workforce were multilayered and pervasive, yet there was increasing evidence that the entrepreneurial landscape for women in Pakistan was undergoing profound changes.

The discussion was moderated by leading development consultant Ammara Durrani.

Recalling what she described as a non-linear career path, Sadia Khan noted that constraints in context and economics made it harder for women to have access to meaningful jobs and directions on how to approach the corporate sector.

She also stressed softer constraints in the form of lack of mentors, an absence of networks and a lack of training and access for working women and how these had an equally profound impact on limiting the success of women in the workplace.

Sabeen Mahmud, the founder of T2F, said that she had left a tech company she co-founded to launch the T2F using money borrowed from her relatives. Stressing the need for entrepreneurs to retain a sense of naivety about their failures, she spoke on the need for efforts like the T2F to be mission driven, rather than being profit driven.

While describing money as a tyrannical force, she warned against non-profit efforts which failed to become sustainable.

Anusheh Ashraf from i2i talked about how she turned her passion for business into a focus on service-delivery projects, which was how she became involved in impact-driven businesses.

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