Checklist for Gender Integration in Microfinance Programming

How can a microfinance program satisfy its aim of empowering women?
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This paper identifies the different stages of a microfinance program and discusses aspects of gender dynamics that need to be examined at each stage.

The paper states that:

  • The identification stage involves diagnosis, analysis and targeting. Household, community and institutional gender dynamics should be examined at this stage, including:
    • Roles, responsibilities and power levels of men and women in the household and community;
    • Factors that determine the power that a woman/man has over other women/men in the community;
    • Sufficiency of existing financial services for men and women;
    • Barriers to accessing credit.
  • The formulation stage involves planning and design. The goals, strategies, processes of monitoring and evaluation of the project and various aspects of loans and savings need to be examined at this stage. These include:
    • Gender equity objectives of the project;
    • Conflict resolution strategies that the project adopts.
  • The implementation stage includes group formation and delivery. The following features of the project need to be examined at this stage:
    • Rules and methods of group formation and their appropriateness in the local context;
    • Equality of men and women's decision making power in the group;
    • Access of women to technical assistance.
  • The monitoring and evaluation stage includes examining:
    • Gender-sensitiveness of data collection;
    • Measurement of empowerment of women;
    • Documentation of positive and negative outcomes of the project on gender equations.

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