Towards an Equitable & Integrated South Asia: Building Enabling Environments for Women in Trade

The study was part of the multi-country research undertaken by The Asia Foundation to examine the opportunities for and challenges to women’s participation in trade in South Asia. The India country report prepared by the ICRIER team captures the challenges associated with women entrepreneur’s participation in domestic and foreign markets, including South Asia, and highlights the enabling environment created by (i) Technology and digital economy (ii) Networks, and (iii) Access to capital. The report also presents a framework to enhance the participation of women-led enterprises in trade within the South-Asian region.


India has registered a two-fold year-on-year growth in exports in recent years and has set a target of US$ 1 trillion in exports by 2025. However, India’s trade with other South Asian countries continues to be relatively low. Furthermore, the participation of women in India’s trade with its South Asian neighbours is almost negligible. In this background the study assessed the enabling environment for women entrepreneurs in India to participate in domestic and international markets, especially in term of the extent of women entrepreneurs’ participation in South Asian markets. It identified constraints to women entrepreneurs’ participation in both the domestic and foreign markets, including South Asia, and suggested measures to enhance their participation in trade. The analyses and findings are based on desk research, secondary data, and stakeholder consultations with two associations—Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), and Federation of Indian Women Entrepreneurs (FIWE).


Towards an Integrated South Asia: Enabling Environments for Women in Trade in South Asia
Author(s): Dr. Nisha Taneja, Ms. Sanjana Joshi, Ms. Shravani Prakash, Ms. Pawani Dasgupta, Ms.Sanya Dua