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Research on Status of Women-Owned Private Sector in Afghanistan


  • Organization: IRC - International Rescue Committee
  • Location: Kabul
  • Grade: Level not specified - Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Women's Empowerment and Gender Mainstreaming
    • Sustainable trade and development
    • Scientist and Researcher
    • Public, Private Partnership
  • Closing Date:


Humanitarian and economic crises disproportionately affect women and girls, the most marginalized and vulnerable in society, and can exacerbate pre-existing gender and social inequalities. Furthermore, women and girls, and the organizations they are part of and lead, remain underrepresented in the Afghan private sector.

 Over the last two decades, female participation in Afghanistan’s labour force has steadily increased along with women’s participation in the private sector. Prior to August 15 2021, there were 17369 women-owned businesses in Afghanistan according to the Afghanistan Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry creating over 130,000 jobs (with nearly 75% of these roles held by women).

 With the recent political developments occurring in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover in August 15, especially in terms of regression of women´s rights, the work and operational space of women-owned businesses has shrunk to an extent that is still to be determined. Additionally, the impact of compounding factors such as international sanctions, banking restrictions, and a worsening overall economy is unclear.

 This study aims to better understand specific barriers and challenges faced by women owned businesses operating in Afghanistan. The study will seek to acquire an understanding of how the private sector climate has changed post-August 2021 (with sanctions being just one of the challenges/drivers), status of women-owned business, access to markets particularly women’s access to markets, and potentially the impact of humanitarian aid on private sector (Ex. how food imports for humanitarian distributions have skewed the market and impacted local importers/shops).

Scope and objectives

The main purpose of this consultancy is to design and conduct a research study on the challenges, barriers and opportunities of women owned businesses across Afghanistan working in different sectors.

In particular, the research with a focus in achieving the following specific objectives:

1) Exploring the experiences and perspectives of women led businesses regarding their participation in coordination structures, decision-making processes and access to funding, understanding specific constraints and barriers.

2) Mapping of access to markets for women-led/owned businesses and subsequent challenges and barriers.

3) Understanding the political, bureaucratic, and socio-cultural constraints that hamper women owned businesses’ operational capacity and the differences between different sectors and service provisions including but not limited to access to licensing, banking structures, and ability to make and receive international transfers.

4) Identifying opportunities and innovative approaches to safely engage women led businesses in the humanitarian response to the crisis

5) Providing recommendations to different stakeholders, including INGOs, UN agencies and donors on how to better support women owned businesses in Afghanistan.


The lead consultant will be responsible for:

  1. Designing a methodology and data collection tools in consultation with IRC POC.
  2. Conducting desk review on current context for women-owned businesses across the country.
  3. Developing, survey questionnaires
  4. Analysing and organizing gathered information
  5. Drafting and finalizing research report
  6. Identifying key areas of concern and areas of improvement in research design and implementation.
  7. Presenting the work in written and verbal form to different stakeholders.
  8. Design and translation of the final report in Dari and Pashto language.
  9. Deliver an online training to IRC staff and produce a 2-3-page training report.
We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.