The Impact of Micro Finance on Poverty and Gender Equity: Approaches and Evidence from Pakistan

Parameters for examining the impact of microfinance on poverty alleviation and gender equity
Download46 pages

This paper assesses the impact of microfinance on poverty and gender equity in Pakistan. It examines impact assessments on this issue, as well as evidence collected from the country.

The paper lists key aspects with respect to assessment of gender aspects. These include:

  • Both qualitative and quantitative monitoring and evaluation over the long term are required to produce reliable data on the impact of microfinance on poverty and gender equity;
  • When considering the impact on gender equity, income is only a part of the equation;
  • The impact of microcredit alone on women’s status and gender equity is limited, because most women borrowers have only partial control over loans;
  • Participatory appraisal may contribute to improved monitoring of the impact of microcredit on women’s empowerment;
  • Compared to credit, there has been less reflection on the impact and importance of savings for the poor, and poor women in particular.

The paper states that:

  • Although most MFIs in Pakistan maintain that they do not discriminate against women, there is wide divergence in the number and amount of loans that have actually been given to women;
  • Most impact assessments in Pakistan have looked at the impact of microcredit on incomes, consumption, social sector expenditures, asset creation, and employment generation.

The paper concludes that there has been little focus on developing a deeper understanding of gender equity and its operational implications for microfinance programs in the Pakistani context.

About this Publication

By Hussein, M. , Hussain, H.