Microfinance and Women’s Empowerment: Exploring Gender-Power Dynamics in the Lives of Women Borrowers from Rural Chakwal
Access to microfinance has come to be seen as a potent means of empowering women and changing gender-power dynamics in favor of women. The current study employs framework for resources, agency, and achievements developed by Kabeer (1999) as well as Mayoux's (1999) three paradigm model to assess the impact of microfinance programs targeting women in Pakistan. It highlights that as far as ability to earn money, mobility, and access to public spaces go, microfinance does play an important role in empowering women. It also assists women in gaining prompt access to crucial funds. The research findings go on to show that women were more likely than men to participate in microfinance programs due to the perception that they are worth the credit risk. Patriarchal norms, however, lead to male household members being the ultimate users of loans taken out by women. The microfinance programs also lack training and capacity building initiatives, making them less effective. Women borrowers eventually become victims of a never-ending debt cycle where men realize their interests through pushing women to take loans and microfinance providers pushing women to repay loans.
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