A recent entry on the Gender Debate blog cites the report “Microfinance: Champion in Poverty Alleviation and Failure in Female Empowerment” by Alexandra Dobra to argue that most microfinance services only focus on the financial empowerment of women, wasting their potential to promote the “full and equal participation of women in all spheres of society including decision-making and access to power” .
According to the report, while microfinance programs give women access to financial services leading to “mobilizing their productive capacities for the benefit of economic development,” the programs fall short in promoting their full and equal participation in all spheres of the society. The blog entry argues that in order to increase the empowerment of women through microfinance programs, it is necessary to “integrate a societal and political dimension which enables women to participate in decision-making processes above and beyond the family context.” The blog suggests action plans be put in place to strengthen women’s rights by fighting against sexual discrimination, promoting their participation in politics and by tackling “patriarchal norms.”
The Gender Debate blog is authored by Angela Luci née Greulich, a German macroeconomist based in France.
Sources and Additional Resources:
 Gender Debate blog, “Empowering women by microfinance!?” http://genderdebate.com/2011/07/18/empowering-women-by-microfinance/
International Politics and Society, Friedrich Ebert Foundation, “Microfinance: Champion in Poverty Alleviation and Failure in Female Empowerment” by Alexandra Dobra, http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/ipg/2011-3/12_dobra.pdf
MicroCapital.org story, March 9, 2011, “MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: Exploring Linkages: Women’s Empowerment, Microfinance and Health Education; By Lora du Moulin, Jean Pouit, Leyla Sharafi, Aminata Toure, Kai Lashley, Barbara Ryan, Gayle Nelson and Divya Alexander; Published by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA),” http://www.microcapital.org/microfinance-paper-wrap-up-exploring-linkages-women%E2%80%99s-empowerment-microfinance-and-health-education-by-lora-du-moulin-jean-pouit-leyla-sharafi-aminata-toure-kai-lashley-barbara-ryan/
MicroCapital.org story, February 14, 2011, “MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Honors Obioma Liyel-Imoke, Founder of POWER, For Empowering Women at Nigeria’s Fifth Annual Microfinance Conference and Entrepreneurial Award Ceremony,” http://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-central-bank-of-nigeria-cbn-honors-obioma-liyel-imoke-founder-of-power-for-empowering-women-at-nigeria%E2%80%99s-fifth-annual-microfinance-conference-and-entrepreneurial-award/
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