Microcredit: An Alternative for Women's Empowerment?

Proceedings from the consultation "Microcredit: An Alternative for Women's Empowerment?"

This document reports ona one-day conference organized by Women In Development Europe (WIDE) on May 15, 2009 in Brussels, Belgium.

Speakers at the conference discussed the positive and negative impacts of microcredit on women and the role they can play in stimulating employment and tackling poverty in the Global South and the European Union (EU). They also examined the relationship between microcredit and women's empowerment in the Global South, and lessons that can be derived from this experience.

Participants contributed their views and experiences from microcredit and microfinance projects in Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans, the EU, Asia and Latin America. The session highlighted growing concerns about the limitations of such schemes and proposed ways to address them. Main concerns included:

  • Governments abdicating social policy responsibilities in the advent of microcredit schemes;
  • Impact of the financial crisis on financing;
  • Need for market education and follow-up training for women as part of microcredit schemes;
  • Role of the EU;
  • Setting interest rates.

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