top of page
Gender Barriers to Entrepreneurship and Leadership Among Young Women in Southeast Asia

supporting Quicksand Design

Empatika had the opportunity to be the local partner in Indonesia for a multi-country study led by Quicksand Design Studio in India and commissioned by UNDP. The study, our first collaboration with Quicksand, was trying to unpack the gender barriers to entrepreneurship and leadership among girls and young women in Indonesia. Overall, it aims to map up the journeys of girls and young women – relative to boys and young men – in understanding how their capacity and agency for entrepreneurship and leadership are shaped by their household, community, and wider ecosystem. The study was also conducted in Lao DPR and Thailand.The research utilised participatory co-design discussions  and in-depth interviews with young women and young men (aged 10-24) in East Nusa Tenggara and West Java. Some of the key issues that our team was looking to explore included insights on: self-perception, motivations, aspirations, sources of strength, social norms and perceived roles, key resources and institutional structures, and barriers and enablers.

Some of the specific takeaways for Indonesia from the primary and secondary research included:

  • Gender inequality limits girls’ and women’s access to educational opportunities

  • Low educational attainment and high domestic care burdens contribute to women’s high rates of informal and necessity-based entrepreneurship

  • Women entrepreneurs struggle to access finance for business start-up and growth

  • These factors above factors are exacerbated due to a lack of gender-responsive policies and support services

  • The domestic work burden, lower educational attainment and the decline of the agriculture sector are key factors behind the current low rate of female labour force participation in Indonesia

  • Overall, young women experience low levels of self-confidence and high fear of failure both at a personal and professional level.

The full report is launched at the Youth Co:Lab Summit on June 2021.


Bandung, West Java and Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara


participatory Focus Group Discussions (pFGDs)


Adolescents women and men

bottom of page