WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT through SUSTAINABLE MICRO-FINANCE Session 1 WHY GENDER? PARADIGMS, ASSUMPTIONS AND REALITIES international rights MORAL agreements WHY women’s demands GENDER? and voice traditional rights ORGANIZATIONAL MANDATES inequality in cost-effective basic needs implementation WOMEN ARE NOT poverty A MINORITY BUT A reduction: MARGINALISED MAJORITY economic growth INSTRUMENTALIST Increasing evidence of high female repayment rates and the rising influence of gender lobbies within donor agencies. MICRO-FINANCE AND Mushrooming of donor, government and NGO- EMPOWERMENT: sponsored credit programmes in the wake of the 1985 Nairobi women’s conference. 1990s female AN OLD ROAD Self- Employed Women’s targeting for Association (SEWA). with financial sustainability origins in the traditions of unionisation identified 1980s credit as a major constraint in their work poverty-targeted credit Large minimalist poverty- targeted micro-finance with informal sector institutions like Grameen women workers. 1975 Bank, FINCA and ACCION first International Women’s Women’s access to credit was given particular Conference in leading to the setting up of the Women’s World Mexico Banking network Early 1970s Attempts by women’s movements to gain access for women to poverty-targeted credit programmes and cooperatives MICRO-FINANCE AND WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT MULTILANE HIGHWAY OR INCOMPATIBLE PARADIGMS? FEMINIST EMPOWERMENT PARADIGM Definition of empowerment transformation of Main policy focus : power relations micro-finance as an entry point throughout society for women’s economic, social and political empowerment Underlying assumption: women’s empowerment requires both fundamental change in the macro-level development agenda and explicit support for women to challenge gender subordination at the micro-level POVERTY REDUCTION PARADIGM Definition of empowerment increased wellbeing, community developmen and self-sufficiency Main policy focus : part of an integrated Underlying programme for poverty development reduction particularly for paradigm the poorest households interventionist poverty reduction and community development Underlying assumptions: • women’s empowerment, household level poverty reduction and community development are inherently synergistic • increased well-being and group formation will automatically enable women to empower themselves. FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY PARADIGM Definition of empowerment economic empowerment, expansion of individual choice and capacities for self-reliance Main policy focus : increasing access to Underlying financially self-sustainable development micro-finance programmes paradigm for large numbers of poor neo-liberal people, including women market growth Underlying assumption: increasing women’s access to micro-finance will automatically lead to economic empowerment without other complementary interventions or change in the macro-economic growth agenda. EMPOWERMENT ASSUMPTIONS: VIRTUOUS SPIRALS SAVINGS AND REPAYMENT CREDIT WOMEN'S DECISION ABOUT SAVINGS AND CREDIT INCREASED HOUSEHOLD INCOME WOMEN'S INCREASED STATUS UNDER WOMEN'S ECONOMIC AND CHANGING CONTROL ACTIVITY ROLES INCREASED WOMEN'S INCREASED INCOME FROM INCREASED NETWORKS AND CONFIDENCE AND CHILDREN'S WOMEN'S WOMEN'S ACCESS TO SKILLS WELLBEING MOBILITY WELLBEING ACTIVITIES MARKETS (POWER WITH) (POWER TO) HOUSEHOLD WELLBEING WOMEN'S WOMEN'S SOCIAL Nutrition ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL Health EMPOWERMENT EMPOWERMENT Literacy Happiness INCREASED POWER TO CHALLENGE INCREASED MEN'S CONTROL OVER INVESTMENT AND CHANGE GENDER WELLBEING INCOME, ASSETS AND RELATIONS AND RESOURCES PRODUCTIVITY ( POWER OVER) POVERTY ECONOMIC WOMEN'S REDUCTION GROWTH HUMAN RIGHTS Amna is from the Beja tribe. She is about 35 years of age and married with four young children. She studied to Class 6 and has recently started studying again to learn more. She chose her husband because ' It is my life, I have to choose '. Her first business was soap-making which she started with a PASED loan in 1993. She has been borrowing regularly every six months and repaying since then. AMNA In 1999 she started a furniture business. Now she also Trader in colour TVs deals in colour and satellite televisions. She earns about LEAP, Sudan SL 2 million a month and has over 200 current clients. She only sells to women because she says women are more trustworthy than men. She varies the repayment period depending on her assessment of the client's ability to repay. She has built her own house in her own name, spending SL8 million. Her husband gives her all his income for the household. He goes to the market and helps her with her business. EMPOWERMENT ASSUMPTIONS: VIRTUOUS SPIRALS SAVINGS AND ??Men may take loan CREDIT but!!! REPAYMENT ??Women may give the loan to men WOMEN'S DECISION ABOUT SAVINGS AND CREDIT QUESTIONING ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT SAVINGS AND REPAYMENT CREDIT WOMEN'S DECISION ABOUT SAVINGS AND CREDIT ?Diversion of loan to WOMEN'S other uses ECONOMIC ACTIVITY ??Women may INCREASED INCREASED INCOME FROM ACCESS TO work from home with WOMEN'S MARKETS ??Incomes may be ACTIVITIES marketing by men very low WOMEN'S ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT INCREASED CONTROL OVER INCREASED ??All women’s ??Men may INVESTMENT INCOME, ASSETS AND income control income AND RESOURCES PRODUCTIVITY May go for consumption ECONOMIC GROWTH QUESTIONING WELLEBING ??Men may withdraw SAVINGS AND REPAYMENT CREDIT their contribution to the household WOMEN'S DECISION ABOUT SAVINGS AND CREDIT INCREASED HOUSEHOLD INCOME UNDER WOMEN'S CONTROL ??Women’s decisions may replicate gender inequality MEN'S CHILDREN'S WELLBEING WELLBEING HOUSEHOLD WELLBEING ??Girls may suffer Nutrition Health Literacy Happiness WOMEN'S WELLBEING ??POVERTY ??Women may forego REDUCTION own consumption QUESTIONING SOCIAL ??May replicate AND POLITICAL and reinforce EMPOWERMENT SAVINGS AND existing roles REPAYMENT CREDIT ??Debt may decrease WOMEN'S DECISION ABOUT SAVINGS AND CREDIT confidence INCREASED STATUS AND CHANGING ??Women ROLES may work from home WOMEN'S INCREASED NETWORKS AND CONFIDENCE AND MOBILITY SKILLS (POWER TO) WOMEN'S SOCIAL AND POLITICAL EMPOWERMENT POWER TO CHALLENGE AND CHANGE GENDER RELATIONS ( POWER OVER) ??May divert attention from WOMEN'S wider change HUMAN RIGHTS EMPOWERMENT IS NOT ALL ASSUMPTIONS AN AUTOMATIC MUST BE QUESTIONED CONSEQUENCE OF SAVINGS AND MICRO-FINANCE CREDIT REPAYMENT PER SE WOMEN'S DECISION ABOUT SAVINGS AND CREDIT INCREASED HOUSEHOLD INCOME WOMEN'S INCREASED STATUS UNDER WOMEN'S ECONOMIC AND CHANGING CONTROL ??? ACTIVITY ??? ROLES INCREASED INCREASED MEN'S INCOME FROM ??? INCREASED WOMEN'S NETWORKS AND CONFIDENCE AND CHILDREN'S WOMEN'S ACCESS TO SKILLS WELLBEING MOBILITY WELLBEING ACTIVITIES MARKETS (POWER TO) (POWER WITH) HOUSEHOLD WELLBEING WOMEN'S WOMEN'S SOCIAL Nutrition ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL Health EMPOWERMENT EMPOWERMENT Literacy Happiness INCREASED INCREASED POWER TO CHALLENGE WOMEN'S CONTROL OVER INVESTMENT AND CHANGE GENDER WELLBEING INCOME, ASSETS AND RELATIONS AND RESOURCES PRODUCTIVITY ( POWER OVER) ??POVERTY ECONOMIC WOMEN'S REDUCTION GROWTH HUMAN RIGHTS OPPORTUNITIES Micro-finance programmes can make a significant contribution to WAYS women’s empowerment and gender equality FORWARD What are the implications for Gender equality macro-level policy advocacy? and women’s empowerment are central to achievement of all What are the implications for other development goals. organisations themselves? In micro-finance important for financial sustainability, How can micro-finance RISKS poverty reach and support men’s role in change? poverty reduction • Credit equals debt How can micro-finance build on and strengthen • Savings may come from women’s own strategies? necessary consumption or productive investment What sorts of products, services and policies • Contribution of micro-finance are needed for empowerment? alone appears to be most limited for the poorest and KEY most disadvantaged women. QUESTIONS YOUR QUESTIONS SO FAR ??