Women and Microfinance: A Winning Combination
May 8, 2022
“Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Give a woman microcredit, she, her husband, her children and her extended family will eat for a lifetime.”
Wisconsin Microfinance targets 80% of our loans to women, but why exactly is that? Countless studies have proven that when we lift up women, we lift up their families and their communities. Women tend to be more careful decision makers, are more in tune with the needs of the family, and more often manage the finances for the family. However, they are historically underserved by traditional financial institutions.
“No risk, no reward!” These words have long been touted as the way to financial prosperity. However, there are too many examples of this philosophy leading to a business failure. Studies have shown that women are seldom at the helm of businesses that fail. Women, when compared to their male counterparts, were found to weigh the pros and cons of each decision, think about long term ramifications, and show apprehension towards taking on debt – making them not only more desirable leaders but also ideal loan candidates.
It’s no secret that traditionally women have borne most of the child rearing duties. This means that women are generally more knowledgeable about the needs of the family – and as a result, are better suited to bringing the family out of poverty. In fact, Nobel Prize-winner Muhammad Yunus, the creator of microfinance, has found that women not only repay loans more often than men, but that when women control the money, their families were more likely to benefit from the income. Specifically, studies in the Philippines have “reported that when women have control over a couple’s savings accounts, expenditures shift towards the purchase of family-targeted durable goods, such as washing machines or kitchen appliances.” The entire premise of microfinance is that it’s a hand up, not a hand out. If this philosophy is to be followed, then responsible money managers – women – are essential.
Finally, it is important to acknowledge that the people who have been most underserved by the financial world are women. This is where microfinance comes in; it’s currently not possible for the demand for capital to be met by the existing banking system, but organizations like Wisconsin Microfinance can make a huge difference. By providing small, low interest loans within the support of a solidarity group, microfinance organizations provide the capital for women to start their own businesses – whether it be farming, running a snack stand, or selling clothing.
Businesses that have been started with money from Wisconsin Microfinance have allowed hundreds of women to exit poverty with dignity. To help even more, consider donating today at http://wisconsinmicrofinance.com/take-action/donate/. Your dollars help more than just one entrepreneur; they help her family, her community, and ultimately the world.
Because an empowered woman is an unstoppable force.
Author: Jahnvi Datta