Enterprise Development - Micro-credit and Equality Between Women and Men

Women's empowerment and micro credit programs
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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.

About this Publication

By Woroniuk, B. , Schalkwyk, J.