Promoting Gender-sensitive Entrepreneurship Via Microfinance Institutions

A look at gender issues in microfinance
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This paper focuses on how the staff of a microfinance institution (MFI) can interact with potential clients in a more gender-sensitive manner.

The paper outlines issues that are important to HIV/AIDS and microfinance, and answers the following frequently asked questions (FAQs):

  • Meaning of being gender-sensitive in microfinance;
  • Gender sensitive microfinance being beyond targeting women clients;
  • Gender-based differences between male and female entrepreneurs;
  • The level of gender sensitivity of the MFI staff;
  • Development of an institutional policy statement on gender;
  • Use of gender sensitive language within MFIs;
  • Creation of a gender sensitive culture within MFIs;
  • MFIs and non-financial services;
  • Financial resources for promoting gender sensitive microfinance.

The paper concludes that:

  • Promoting gender sensitive entrepreneurship via MFIs should be viewed in the context of an overall national policy framework;
  • Depending on the approach adopted by the MFI, microfinance initiatives can address issues of gender sensitivity;
  • There is need for:
    • A wider awareness of gender issues, attitude, sensitivity and capacity building among MFI staff;
    • Movement beyond the belief that just because most clients are women, there are no gender issues.
  • Gender is a significant organizational factor in society and affects the processes of production, distribution and consumption;
  • The real issue is the empowerment of women through their active participation in decision-making that affects their lives;
  • The ability to address gender issues is central to the success of reducing vulnerability to HIV/AIDS.

About this Publication

By Murray, U.