Gender and Microfinance
Surveys of microfinance institutions indicate that women represent over 70% of total microfinance clients are women, and in some instances they comprise 100% of clientele. Women take out microloans to engage in a variety of businesses, such as fishing, vegetable selling, food production, small shops, and much more. Research has also shown that women are good credit risks, with an average loan repayment rate of between 95% and 98% — higher than that of male borrowers. Women are also considered a good overall ‘investment’ for their family and their community. As an economic empowerment tool, microfinance provides women the opportunity to accumulate savings, expand their businesses, send their children to school, improve family nutrition and the living conditions of their household in general.
Women’s World Banking Annual Report 2015. The report demonstrates that women in every region and income group are significantly less likely than men to have financial assets in their own names. One of the ways to empower women is to provide them better access to financial services and opening bank accounts that can help them build businesses and build a better life for herself and her family.
Toolkit on Women’s Financial Inclusion. The toolkit, developed by the UK Department for International Development and GIZ, introduces readers to relevant issues in each step of the program cycle, including scoping, design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation. (2012).
Are Pakistan’s women entrepreneurs being served by the microfinance sector? World Bank report (2012) finds between 50 to 70 percent of microloans to women in Pakistan may actually be used by their male relatives.
Gender Advocacy Report (2012). It calls for a Gender Justice Protocol to promote an inclusive financial sector where gender justice is mainstreamed in all financial institutions from banks through to community managed funds and these institutions work together to promote gender justice and support empowerment of clients.