Fact And Fiction: Examining Microcredit/Microfinance From a Feminist Perspective

Critically evaluating the impact of microcredit on women
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This paper examines microcredit and microfinance from a gender lens. It presents evidence of microfinances impact on the lives of women and attempts to understand how microcredit and microfinance can benefit and change womens lives and status. The paper reflects the opinions of Soma K. Parthasarathy and aims to contribute to the debate on womens rights, economy and development at the Association for Womens Rights in Development (AWID) Forum and beyond.The paper defines processes and methodologies in microcredit, presents the evolution of microcredit from a historical perspective, examines opinions on microfinance in current debates on development and economics from a feminist perspective. It states that microcredit:

  • Has not challenged the patriarchal gendered division in labor, patterns of asset ownership, and decision-making;
  • Does not take into account that patriarchy and power imbalances lie at the base of women's economic subordination, not simply access to money;
  • Fails to recognize the double or triple work burden on women that come with access to credit and the expectation to do productive work.

The paper urges the feminist movement to examine if microcredit can play a role in advancing womens leadership, agency, and ability to demand their rights.

About this Publication

By Parthasarathy, S.K.