Date of Meeting: 13 March 2018

Meeting Organizer: Alternativ Project

ISJC Staff Present: Dr Laurelle Smith

Reporter: Dr Laurelle Smith

Which SDG does this topic cover? 1, 4, 5, 8, 10

Type of meeting: CSW62 Parallel Event

Brief summary of presentation of information made

Women in Pakistan have the lowest rate of entrepreneurship in the world – just 1%. In Pakistan over 25 million school-aged children are not in school and women rank second to last worldwide in terms of engagement in the workforce. Child marriage is also a problem in Pakistan with 21% of girls married before the age of 18 years and 3% under the age of 12 years.

Culturally there is a lack of value for girls and women. Women are often not allowed to interact with men and this inhibits them being able to negotiate at the market, interview for jobs etc.

Without women in the workplace the country’s economy will never rise. Without women in the workplace less than half the population is contributing to the economy.

For women to be entrepreneurs they need to be empowered by their families and communities. Faith based organisations must be involved.

Two presentations were made by representatives from Alternativ Global Entrepreneurs and Marshall Direct Fund. Each organisation works in communities in Pakistan to help empower women and break the cycle of poverty. The goal of these organisations is to move women from poverty to opportunity.

Stories of success were shared from both organisations:


Marshall Direct Fund

Marshall Direct Fund invest in education and women’s economic empowerment for a more peaceful world.

  • As safe travel is one of the main reasons that girls do not attend school in Pakistan, Marshall Direct fund schools are set up in the centre of communities to ensure girls can travel to and from school safely.
  • Boys in a family can only be enrolled in the school when the girls in the family have been enrolled.
  • Offer vocational skills training.
  • Have a global pen pal programme where students in Pakistan can write to students in the US.



Alternativ Global Entrepreneurs

Alternativ Global Entrepreneurs partners with communities to deliver high-impact business training and mentorship to help equip women to start small businesses.

  • Create small business opportunities for women. The goal is to create an inclusive system that promotes gender equality.
  • Provide training and education for women who never received education as a child.
  • Graduates earn on average 40% more than before training
  • Build gender equality form a young age by educating young girls
  • Educates women on their workplace rights – if women enter the workplace and don’t understand their rights they will be exploited.
  • The goal is to have lifelong financial independence.


What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?

It is vital that The Salvation Army highlights the importance and value of women, especially in Pakistan. As a faith based organisation The Salvation Army plays a significant role in empowering women, encouraging them to pursue workplace opportunities including starting small businesses and highlighting the importance of contributing to their families and community. The Salvation Army currently works with Women in Pakistan to create employment opportunities under the programme of ‘Others’.

Web links for more information

Tags: United Nations, SDG10: Reduced Inequalities, SDG1: No Poverty, SDG4: Quality Education, SDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, SDG5: Gender Equality