Micro-finance: A Study on the Empowerment of Women

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Maria Andersen
4. term, Global Refugee Studies, Master (Master Programme)
The empowerment of women has become a focal point within many development theories and for many practitioners in the last couple of decades. Empowering women is seen as an effective solution to worldwide problems regarding female discrimination, and it is mentioned both by top officials and development workers on the ground as the way forward. Alongside this promotion of empowerment, has been the advocacy for micro-finance provision to poverty stricken people, as a way to help them help themselves out of poverty. But even more so, micro-finance has often been argued to be one of the most effective tools to further the empowerment of women. Today, the enterprise of micro-finance reaches across the globe, involving millions of - mainly female - clients, often with the implicit promise of empowerment connected to its services.
Critical voices have begun to be heard concerning the supposed outcomes of empowerment of micro-finance however, many stating that micro-finance as it is today does not result in the empowerment of women. This thesis will investigate micro-finance provision and empowerment, applying secondary studies and original fieldwork carried out in Kenya in the summer of 2013, in an attempt to add to the current debate. The thesis also considers, the implication involved in measuring success out from criteria such as empowerment, as many development projects do.
Concluding, the thesis supports the need for further, more in-depth research to be carried out on the topic, while suggesting that the empowerment possibilities of micro-finance depend on the approaches used towards providing it. Furthermore, the thesis poses serious question marks as to the efficiency of too rigidly applying development criteria, such as for instance, empowerment to measure the success of a project.
LanguageEnglish
Publication date5 Nov 2011
Number of pages106
ID: 119382911