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Vol. 32 (2012)

Do microfinance programs benefit women in developing countries?

  • Mazhar Siraj
June 16, 2017


This paper looks at the case for and against the view that microfinance programs benefit women in developing countries, based on a selective body of research. The analysis suggests that women constitute the largest pie of the clientele of microfinance programs at the global level. Broadly, these programs have worked withing two paradigms which aim at (1) poverty alliveation and (2) empowerpment of women within femenist discourse. However, the literature remains about the real impact of these programs In some developing countries, access to microcredit has helped many women to cross the poverty line but even when poverty has been alleviated, scepticism presits about long term and sustainable benefits of empowerment. included but not limited to, control of women over incomes through investing credit or savings, improved baragaining power and social status. This is because the commercialization of microcredit and savings services is shifting focus from the poor clients, particularly women, to all those who needs credits form formal institutions. This development is jeopardizing the objectives of proverty alliveation and empowerment of women and calls for greater attention to the needs of women in settling objectieves and design for microfinance in developing countries