UN Women, grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.
In Pakistan, the agency’s work is guided by the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) and the UN Women Pakistan Strategic Note (SN). In the context of advancing gender equality and women empowerment objectives, both key documents focus on the following five areas: (1) normative frameworks and data, (2) innovative gender financing, (3) protection against harmful practices, (4) awareness, voice, agency and leadership, and (5) women economic empowerment. While aligning perfectly with the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment outcome of the UNSDCF, the Strategic Note also recognizes the interconnectedness of various development goals and the pivotal role of gender equality in achieving sustainable development, as envisioned under the UNSDCF. It thus promotes the integration of a gender perspective across all sectors, fostering collaboration with government institutions, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders to implement gender-responsive policies and programs.
Unlocking women’s economic potential in Pakistan remains a key area of focus for UN Women, and is in line with the priorities of the Government of Pakistan, as reflected in the latter’s framework for national development, the Pakistan Vision 2025. Vision 2025 plans for Pakistan to be “in the league of Upper Middle-Income countries by 2025” and “amongst the top ten economies of the world by 2047”. Any solution to Pakistan’s economic and social problems cannot succeed without including its women, who make up 48.5 percent of the total population of the country and are thus indispensable to its future growth story. To achieve these goals, it is paramount that Pakistani women are enabled to reach their full potential by virtue of active participation in economic life.
Various initiatives by key government departments and institutions, including the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA), are reflective of the focus on the economic empowerment of women. In this regard, SMEDA, has also established a Women Entrepreneurship Development Cell (WED Cell) to address gender-specific challenges and promote gender mainstreaming.
The primary objective of the WED Cell is to highlight the unique obstacles faced by women entrepreneurs and create an enabling environment that optimizes their success at every stage of business development, consolidation, and growth. WED Cell also facilitates communication and collaboration among decision-makers, government agencies, donors, and women entrepreneurs, to strengthen the overall framework for women's entrepreneurship by making recommendations and proposing strategies to reduce barriers and enhance support mechanisms for women entrepreneurs.
However, through experiences and the lessons learned from the National SME Policy 2021, and the findings of a recent Diagnostic Study on Key Barriers to Women Entrepreneurs in Pakistan, there is a need for a dedicated Women Entrepreneurship Development (WED) policy, accompanied by collective efforts and a supportive ecosystem. Such a policy is crucial for sustainable and inclusive economic growth and business consolidation in the women micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector.
Recognizing the significant potential and untapped opportunities that lies within women entrepreneurship, UN Women aims to support SMEDA to develop a comprehensive Women Entrepreneurship Development Policy to harness this potential and foster women entrepreneurship in Pakistan. The policy will aim at addressing the unique challenges faced by women entrepreneurs, including but not limited to access to finance, capacity building, market linkages, legal and regulatory barriers, and gender biases, with a special focus on microenterprises. It will serve as a roadmap for government interventions, programs, support mechanisms, and the creation of a conducive environment that empowers women entrepreneurs to thrive.
The overall objective of this assignment is to develop a women entrepreneurship development policy and enhance the technical and financial capacities of the organization to design and implement policy effectively. This will enable SMEDA to maximize its impact in women MSME space and contribute significantly to the economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs.
Duties and Responsibilities
Duties and Responsibilities
Working under the overall guidance of the Portfolio Manager – Women Economic Empowerment and the direct supervision of Senior Planning, Monitoring & Reporting Officer, the Technical Advisor – Women Entrepreneurship Policy is expected to deliver the following;
- Engage and build partnerships with development partners for Women Entrepreneurship Development Policy
- Develop a WED Policy that addresses women entrepreneurs (including micro-entrepreneurs) issues, builds support mechanisms and a conducive ecosystem.
- Design action plans, frameworks, development models & processes, and gender-responsive programs nationwide in line with the policy recommendations.
- Establish a robust monitoring and evaluation framework.
- Strengthen the capacities of SMEDA WED Cell to carry out the policy development process and to coordinate implementation of its accompanying action plan effectively.
The scope of work includes:
1. Conducting a thorough review of existing policies, reports, and studies related to women entrepreneurship in Pakistan.
2. Collecting and analyzing data on the current status, challenges, and opportunities for women entrepreneurs in various sectors.
3. Assessing the specific challenges faced by women entrepreneurs, including but not limited to demand and supply side issues, gender biases, and legal and regulatory barriers, etc.
4. Conduct a stakeholder analysis and engage with relevant government ministries & agencies, women entrepreneurs, business associations, NGOs, civil society organizations, and other key stakeholders to gather inputs and insights.
5. Benchmarking international best practices in women entrepreneurship policies and identifying relevant lessons for Pakistan.
6. Identifying specific policy interventions, programs, and support mechanisms that can be implemented to support women entrepreneurs within the following focus areas;
- Women MSMEs Definition
- Regulatory & Tax Environment
- Women MSMEs Supply Side Challenges
- Access to Finance
- Skills, Human Resource & Technology
- Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Incubation
- Business Development Services
- Women MSMEs Demand Side Challenges
- Market Access
- Public Procurement
- Developing a comprehensive policy framework that addresses the identified gaps and incorporates the best practices.
- Developing an implementation plan with clear timelines, resources, and responsibilities for various stakeholders.
- Preparing a monitoring and evaluation mechanisms with indicators to assess and track the impact of the policy and make necessary adjustments.
- Prepare a comprehensive report outlining the policy framework, interventions, and implementation plan, along with recommendations for effective policy implementation.
- Delivering a final report that includes the policy document, implementation plan, and other relevant outputs.
Core Values: Respect for Diversity, Integrity, and Professionalism
Core Competencies: Awareness and Sensitivity Regarding Gender Issues; Accountability; Creative Problem Solving; Effective Communication; Inclusive Collaboration; Stakeholder Engagement and Leading by Example
Required Skills and Experience
This is a Daily Rate based contract The Consultant will be required to work three days every week from the SMEDA Office. Any changes to the choice of days within the week, and work from home arrangements will require prior approval.
Duration is 1 year.
- Master’s degree or equivalent in international development, business administration, social sciences, human rights, gender/women's studies, or a related field is required.
- A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.
Skills and Competencies:
- Minimum 10 years of progressively responsible experience at the national or international level in international development, coordination, development finance or planning.
- Excellent analytical, writing, editing, presentation, facilitation, and documentation skills in English.
- Proven ability to establish, build and sustain effective relationships with government agencies, development partners, civil society organizations along with community level women organizations.
- Knowledge on local entrepreneurship programs and projects specifically supporting women entrepreneurship.
- Fluency in English is required
- Knowledge of the other UN official working language is an asset;
Application: All applications must include (as an attachment) the completed UN Women Personal History form (P11)
which can be downloaded from
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form will be treated as incomplete and will not be considered for further assessment.
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present HEC attested degrees.
Foreign Qualified Candidates: Foreign degree holders shall be required to (i) Present a verification/certification letter from the
university verifying the degree & student enrollment, or (ii) Foreign degree Equivalence Letter from HEC.
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