• Maria Paula Fuentes Florez
Microfinance provides financial services such as small loans, savings accounts and insurance to low-income individuals and marginalised communities with limited access to traditional banking services. By facilitating access to financial services, microfinance aims to enhance long-term economic well-being, foster social inclusion and empower individuals and communities worldwide, contributing to sustainable development. Furthermore, microfinance can empower poor women by enabling them to participate in income-generating activities, leading to financial independence and greater decision-making power. It is seen as a potential solution to reduce gender inequality since it provides women with opportunities for economic growth and empowerment. Behind this belief, it is assumed that women will use loans for their enterprises; that these enterprises will be successful; that women will control the profits and that more significant involvement in economics will translate to their social and political position in society. However, during this thesis, we identified different studies that contradict these assumptions, arguing that the process of women's empowerment is complex and that socio-economic limitations and cultural challenges can reduce the microfinance institutions' effectiveness to produce empowerment. Therefore, this thesis aimed to understand the processes of empowerment presented by female borrowers participating in India’s microfinance system. The reason for this was to identify which factor limit MFIs' promotion of women’s empowerment. Among the identified limitations are a lack of gender-sensitive approaches, limited focus on economic empowerment, the difference in literacy among women borrowers, the limited scope of services, the viewpoint of men regarding the position of women in their households and communities, limited representation and participation and change in social goals. These limitations were linked to the socio-economic status of the women borrowers and microfinance institutions' priority of profit before social impact. It was concluded that it is essential that MFIs look at the different social barriers that their female clients have in their daily life to create products and services that target financial inclusion and empowerment in all the spheres of a woman's life.
Publication date2023
Number of pages63
ID: 545270739