Micro finance, micro finance.#Micro #finance


Reaching and Empowering Women:

Linda Mayoux, IFAD 2009

Women are Useful to Microfinance – how can we make microfinance useful to women?

Financial services for Gender Justice: WEMAN Advocacy Report

L Mayoux and G Gobazie 2012 (forthcoming)

Join us for discussion at:


On this page

Gender Justice case

pages on wemanresources website

SPM and consumer protection

key resources

Linda Mayoux 2008

Gender background paper for MCS Nairobi

IFAD Guide for Practitioners

Cheston and Kuhn 2002

Bauchet et al, 2011 CGAP

Other links

TIP: Use two separate searches: micro-finance and gender and micro-finance and empowerment to get different sets of link

website for Oxfam Novib’s WEMAN programme

Micro finance

This Section of WEMANResources has been developed with support from Hivos.

It updates materials from genfinance website and other initiatives supported since 1997 byOxfam Novib, Aga Khan Foundation Canada, Levis Strauss Foundation, Open University UK, Action Aid, Icco, One World Action, DFID, UNIFEM, ILO, Care-India, Cameroon Gatsby Trust, CODEC Bangladesh, SHDF Zimbabwe, ANANDI India, PASED_LEAP Sudan, KRC Uganda.

Micro finance

WEMAN partners are advocating for a Gender Justice Protocol for financial services 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.

This includes development of:

  • Financial Action Learning System to develop empowering products and services
  • Community-led gender indicators for Social Performance Management
  • Participatory gender audit for organisational mainstreaming
  • Gender guidelines for consumer protection and regulatory frameworks
  • Capacity building and advocacy resources for financial institutions, their clients and funders

Why gender mainstreaming? gender justice case

Financial services have proven potential to initiate a series of virtuous spirals of economic empowerment, increased well-being for women and their families and wider social and political empowerment. Financial services can enable men to provide for their families and work with women on an equal basis for household welath creation. Although no magic bullet , theycan be a significant contribution to equitable development and civil society strengthening.

BUT actual contribution to empowerment is often limited:

  • Credit is also debt. Savings, loan interest and insurance premiums are potentially foregone investment in businesses, children’s education and health or necessary consumption.
  • In many cases women continue to earn very low incomes in increasingly saturated markets.
  • Women’s access to even these very small incomes may lead to men withdrawing their contribution to household expenses.
  • Group formation for debt repayment takes up women’s precious time and does not necessarily lead to changes in women’s status.

Why gender mainstreaming? business case

FSPs have a choice – there are many strategies which can be both profitable and promote gender justice,and bringing about changes which benefit men as well as women:

  • Women are a very large underserved potential market. Women not a minority but a marginalised majority in most countries
  • Women have proved to be better savers and also loan repayers than men in many contexts.
  • Empowered women are able to use and pay for more profitable products
  • Failure to challenge destructive aspects of ‘masculine’ behaviour and support men’s responsibility for household wellbeing entails serious risks for FSPs.
  • Gender diversity on boards of companies leads to better management decisions
  • Promotion of empowerment and wealth creation of clients (women as well as men) is good for brand image, particularly in the current environment of mistrust and scepticism about the financial sector

BUT gender issues, and specifically women’s empowerment, continue to be marginalised in design of services in most FSPs. Gender-blind short-term strategies promoted for commercial profitability further marginalise women, exacerbate negative impacts of debt and undermine contribution to wealth creation and development.

WEMAN Gender Justice Protocol

WEMAN is therefore advocating for a Gender Justice Protocol to promote:

  • Greater clarity in the underlying gender and empowerment vision of financial service providers.
  • Client-led market research to design empowering products for women and men which will promote gender justice.
  • Innovation for sustainable and empowering non-financial services .
  • Strengthening client organisation through financial services (both individual lending and group-based) as a basis for a wider gender justice movement .
  • Commitment to organisational gender policy to design and deliver empowering financial services for women and men clients, including gender mainstreaming in Social Performance Management .
  • Mainstreaming gender justice in consumer protection and regulatory frameworks for the financial sector and in guidelines for donor funding.
  • Mainstreaming gender concerns in policy advocacy by the financial sector.

WEMAN partners are active members of the MicroCredit Summit campaign and other micro-finance networks.

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