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Strive Women in Pakistan

A Pakistani woman wearing bright pink smiles.

Strive Women in Pakistan supports women entrepreneurs to feel confident, resilient, in control, and equipped to grow their businesses, so they gain economic power in their households, communities, and economies.


Strive Women, a four-year program led by CARE and supported by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, strengthens the financial health of women-led micro & small businesses in Pakistan. These businesses are the backbone of Pakistani economies, make better credit customers, are fast adopters of ecommerce, and have proven to reinvest in their households and local communities.

Working with local partners, Strive Women in Pakistan takes a women-centered design approach to understand the needs of women entrepreneurs and deliver tailored financial products and support services, such as capacity building, digital skills enhancement, and women’s network strengthening. The program addresses the unique gender barriers faced by women-led businesses and tests innovations related to the climate crisis and childcare, which both disproportionately impact women.

The opportunity

In Pakistan, there exists a critical need for women’s financial inclusion, as highlighted by the alarming 82 percent of Pakistani women that remain unbanked – and this disparity is increasing (WFID, 2022). The Global Gender Gap Index ranks Pakistan 142nd out of 146 countries for gender parity (World Economic Forum, 2023). CARE’s research further reveals the inequality, indicating that only 55% of women business owners hold the primary role of financial decision-makers in their businesses (CARE, 2022). Addressing these issues is crucial to fostering a more inclusive and equitable economic landscape in Pakistan.

Our focus

Strive Women in Pakistan supports micro and small enterprises, 70% of which will be women-led with at least two employees, and who have been in business for at least two years. Building on the success of the prior phase called Ignite, the program runs from 2023 to 2027 in Pakistan, where women face multiple gender barriers and there are large segments of unserved and underserved micro and small businesses ready for investment.


Latest Resources

Gender Norms Study in Pakistan

This study identifies gender barriers and perceptions faced by women entrepreneurs in Pakistan.

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Mastercard Strive

Strive Women is part of Mastercard Strive, a global portfolio of philanthropic programs aimed at helping small businesses around the world thrive in the digital economy. The program is implemented by CARE, supported by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, and funded with a $9 million USD investment from the Mastercard Impact Fund.