Microfinance for gender equality: A dilemma?

Jan 2008
Brazil, January, 31 2008 - The discussion on empowering women in microfinance often attracts opposing views. The debate tends to crystallise at the point of clearly attributing impacts to microfinance and in particular women's empowerment.

Two seemingly separate issues emerge: impact on the client and impact on the microfinance institution (MFI). It is a fact that microfinance does impact both the MFI and its clients. Over the years, tension has been created in terms of prioritising between these two impacts. The essence of microfinance is to create access to useful financial services for the ultimate purpose of improving livelihoods. The targeting of women is important in order to achieve maximum impact on the family. MFIs generally agree that gender dimensions are crucial for designing and implementing effective microfinance interventions for improving livelihoods in a sustainable manner. Yet, some institutions have not fully integrated gender issues in their practical operations largely because of conflicting priorities.(excerpt)

Source : Poverty in focus

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