According to a World Bank Report, only 11pc of women in Pakistan utilize banking services and are four times less mobile than men. Standard Chartered Pakistan launched SC Women in Tech in 2019 to tap the economic potential of women in the workforce, which estimates indicate can boost the economy up to 30pc by empowering women and girls to expand their skills, get access to information, finance and assets.
SC Women in Tech offers women-led startups a chance to enter a comprehensive mentorship programme, with the winners receiving a seed grant of PKR 1.5 million. In our third year, our challenge was to encourage women, especially working mothers, to enter the programme.
REMOVING FUNCTIONAL BARRIERS
Based on previous years’ entries, our programme’s biggest target was working mothers, who tend to run their businesses from home, and are reluctant to scale because of lack of mobility, access to financial aid, caretaking responsibilities etc. The pandemic also made matters worse. To make the programme more accessible, we created a microsite scwomenintech.com.pk to conduct the entire event digitally.
OVERCOMING EMOTIONAL BARRIERS
Research also showed that women were less likely to participate due to issues of self-doubt and a nagging Imposter Syndrome. Representation matters, and in order to inspire women founders to enter, we chose 4 Women in Tech alumni to be the face of our campaign, #SheStandsToChallenge. These role models came from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, age groups, and interests, but their message was one: Any woman who challenges self-doubt, is unstoppable.
The campaign was launched on International Women’s Day with conversations around inspirational women and their impact on the socio-economic landscape of Pakistan. Our campaign was promoted in collaboration with female-only entrepreneurial groups and endorsements from women leaders in Pakistan’s tech industry.
36.17% increase in entries after campaign rollout