Women are Useful to Microfinance: How Can We Make Microfinance More Useful to Women?

Paper presented at the 2011 Global Microcredit Summit, November 14-17, 2011, Valladolid, Spain
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This paper presents ways in which the microfinance sector can actively promote women’s empowerment. It focuses on a draft Gender Justice Framework Protocol (the draft Protocol) developed by the author with partners of the WEMAN networks in South Asia, Africa, and Latin America. It outlines steps that financial institutions can take to mainstream gender and empowerment throughout program design.

The draft Protocol assumes that different players would commit to gender equality of opportunity and women’s empowerment and integrate these principles into their organization. Recommendations for donors, governments, and networks include:

  • Develop a set of agreed organizational gender indicators and a gender performance rating system to inform funding and other decisions;
  • Facilitate networks to share information and experience on gender impact and innovation to assess the best strategies in different contexts;
  • Fund networks to decrease costs of non-financial services;
  • Integrate good gender practices into training for bankers and other staff;
  • Mainstream gender justice in macro-level interventions, regulatory frameworks, consumer protection, advocacy strategies, and value chain development.

About this Publication

By Mayoux, L.