Iraq’s cycle of political, security, and economic crises have deprived a great number of people of livelihood. In this context, many women have been pushed to set up their own businesses to support their families. Global Partners Governance set out to examine the experiences of women who have done so and provide recommendations to the Iraqi government and the international community in their efforts to promote women’s role in economic and social life.
GPG’s researchers drew on qualitative interviews with women from across Iraq, taking particular care to aggregate data from multiple locations to account for the significant socio-economic differences within and between provinces. The answers received were collated into a report, “Women's Economic Empowerment in Iraq: Voices of Female Entrepreneurs”, which outlined the institutional, political, and social context which the respondents had to navigate.
The research found that government and international organisations have a vital role to play in easing the economic and social hurdles to new models of self-employment. The paper makes four sets of recommendations for policy-makers and civil society organisations to support women’s entrepreneurship in Iraq:
- Improve skills and available training, with special attention to localised intervention and network-building;
- Provide better economic opportunities, assistance, and incentives to support female entrepreneurs;
- Remove legislative and regulatory barriers to setting up and growing micro and small businesses;
- Create an enabling environment for entrepreneurs through local and national initiatives and platforms supporting new female entrepreneurs.