Women empowerment through freelancing, as an opportunity for Pakistani women

International Women Day this March 8, 2017

ISLAMABAD ( PRESS RELEASE )

Can freelancing empower women in Pakistan? According to the World Bank, the women participation rate in the work force of Pakistan is 24% in 2014. Pakistan’s female population is estimated to be 48.65 percent of the total, the majority of which lives in the country’s rural areas. The opportunities for women in rural areas are less than the ones in the urban centers. Labour Force Statistics (LFS) report in 2012-2013 said that out of the estimated 180 million people, only 12.51 million Pakistani females of various ages are in employment.

A woman’s ability to succeed in it is also equally varied. The culture in Pakistan also makes it harder for women because they have ‘double-burden’. Women who work face a double-burden in society. They can work but are also perceived to have the main responsibility of caring for the family at home. Professional women are forced to prioritize because the expectation that they are responsible for the family unit is deep-rooted in most of Pakistani society. The consequences of such expectations, however, are more keenly felt where there are fewer opportunities.

How Freelancing Can Actually Help Pakistani Women for a Better Opportunity

Before the digital era, women tended to ignore their passion and chose to become a stay-at-home mom. If they needed additional income, they would try to do something in their spare time to make money. But it was quite difficult because there were not many opportunities and options either for staying-at-home moms.

But then technology has started playing a huge role in disrupting businesses. The digital economy can provide women with a way to earn a living, even if they are otherwise excluded from the traditional labor markets. The key benefit of the digital economy is that it allows and encourages remote working, where gender may not matter as much as in the physical economy. It opens up a world of opportunities for women.

Freelancer.com  reveals that Pakistan has become the 4th largest county using the platform internationally. Out of over 23-million users worldwide, over 860-thousands registered users on Freelancer.com come from Pakistan. Although there’s no data on how many women out of the total number of users, it shows that the rising trend of freelancing is opening new opportunities for these thousands of women who need additional income, or a more flexible way of working to suit their different lifestyles including being able to do the works while still taking care of their family.

“Becoming a gig worker on Freelancer.com can transform the life of a skilled woman worker with access to millions of employers from all over the world who, on a daily basis, are posting thousands of jobs across hundreds of different fields and industries,” said Helma Kusuma, Freelancer.com’s Country Manager for Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Pakistan & Bangladesh. “With Pakistani women’s diverse lifestyles, freelancing is becoming an obvious option to cater to their needs. For women entrepreneurs, Freelancer.com also allows them to look for reliable, high-quality freelancers who can help them establish their own businesses,” added Kusuma.

Freelancer.com  shares some of the tips on how to benefit freelancing for a better opportunity for women in Pakistan.

  1. Start with small freelance projects first

As a start, women can try to take small freelance projects that will not take much of their time. Hence, they will still be able to do it while taking care of their family. If they are then comfortable enough, they can take bigger projects.

  1. Learn how to master a good time-management between family and the project deadline

Being a freelancer doesn’t mean they have more free-time. They will have more flexibility to manage their time, for example they can manage to drop off their kids to school while others are working. However, sometimes they will need to spend their weekends to work in order to meet their deadline.

The best thing to do is to be manageable of their time and organize everything with a timeline in order to meet every deadline on-time without sacrificing their spare-time.

  1. Expand networks to get more opportunities for freelance projects

Where can women find freelance projects? Their networks. In fact, their networks are their big chance to get their first freelance projects. There is actually a more effective way to get them freelance projects. They can visit and be a member of online freelancing marketplaces.

  1. Be a member of global online freelancing marketplaces likeFreelancer.com

Utilize the benefits where many online freelancing marketplaces have offered. Not only it is a tool for them to use these marketplaces for their online portfolio presence, they can also get a bigger opportunity of potential employers here because of the large and diverse clientele they can find on the platform.

And the most important thing is there are more benefits of being members of these marketplaces. For example, in Freelancer.com , a secure escrow-payment feature, time tracking system, invoicing feature, reputation/rating & review features, chat & message features, Preferred Freelancer program, etc are some of the things, which will make freelancing life much more effective, flexible, and easier if they knew how to make use of those benefits.

  1. If being a freelancer is already at ease, try to build a business

In Freelancer.com, we found some users who started as freelancers then become employers, which then have posted projects 3-4 years later. So it could possibly happen to anybody, as long as during their freelance career, they have never stopped learning, developed their skills, tried to save money that can be used as their early financial capital for their future business, and maintained their previous employers/clients as their networks.

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