Exploring Linkages: Women's Empowerment, Microfinance and Health Education

Survey results highlighting the effects of social services provided by MFIs

This booklet highlights results of a survey of MFI women clients in 14 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, with a special focus on the effects of social services provided by these institutions.

Cultural, political, legal, social and economic barriers prevent women from accessing education, finance and health services. MFI programs can help women challenge barriers that create and sustain poverty by emphasizing women’s empowerment and ensuring their access to finance, health care and health information. The booklet examines dimensions of women’s sexual and reproductive health and extent of women’s empowerment. It states that:

  • Microfinance brings women together, providing them with a support group and an expansion of responsibilities beyond traditional household duties;
  • Increased financial independence, capacity and responsibility enhance women’s empowerment;
  • Microfinance can reach marginalized female populations who have limited or no access to health care, health insurance and health information.

The study supports the link between microfinance and social performance. Evidence of this link is seen in microfinance’s strong positive impact on women’s empowerment and a less verifiable impact on sexual and reproductive health.

About this Publication

By United Nations Population Fund & Research and Applications for Alternative Financing for Development