Enterprise Development - Micro-credit and Equality Between Women and Men
This paper addresses the relationship between women's participation in micro-credit (or micro-enterprise) scheme and empowerment. Micro-credit schemes targeting women increase their income and:
- Help in improving women's role in the household;
- Increase their confidence;
- Change the perception of women's role in the society.
The paper further explains that receiving credit does not automatically lead to empowerment:
- Male family members may actually control the loans granted to women;
- Micro credit cannot address the aspects of gender inequality.
The paper suggests some ways for equitable results, for reducing obstacles to women's participation, and thus benefiting them from micro-credit and micro-enterprise programs. Addressing women's participation, it lists the following problems that must be considered:
- Low literary and vocational skills;
- No provision for collateral for loan because of inequality within the household;
- Insufficient time availability and confidence;
- Varied participation and benefit because of different economic position, age and education levels.
Demonstrating the obstacles faced by poor women, the paper mentions some measures to ensure equitable results:
- Analyze realistically the contribution of micro credit schemes to gender equality;
- Consider outside influences affecting women's ability to benefit;
- Use gender sensitive participation mechanism;
- Recognize women specific barriers and ensure that provision of credit is supported by additional business skills;
- Ensure that general training options are designed and scheduled so that women as well as men can attend;
- Develop complementary social services;
- Encourage organizations with broader agenda of gender equality to meet specific women needs.