My Own Happiness Project

My Own Happiness Project
because happiness begins inside and flows out...


feed a girl and you feed the whole nation.....

An Essay On Gender-Selective Micro-financing And Women Empowerment
by Arteo

For ages, certain societies has seen unequal treatment towards women as compared to men in many important aspects such as bodily integrity and autonomy, in getting education, in having marital, parental and religious rights, and many more. Another aspect that has in the recent decade been brought to prominent attention is the gendered poverty. This phenomenon has a simple meaning, that men and women both experience and respond to poverty in different ways. The solution, however, is not all together simple.

Poverty is perpetuated by a complex set of factors. Other than gender differences, other factors that come into importance are ethnicity, income, health status, access to resources, politics and hierarchies. It Is proven, by addressing gender as key strategy in implementation of any developmental assistance programme produces sustainable mechanism for alleviating poverty.

The International Labour Organisation acknowledges a strong connection between vulnerability of impoverished women to underemployment and low-wages. And has proposed various strategies to combat this problem. Based on a study by Buvinic (1996) it is stated that the most straight forward vehicle to empower poor women is through economic empowerment, which means increasing their productivity in home and market production and to increase their income from work. One of the most popular and proven forms of economic empowerment for women is by providing microfinancing services.

The World Bank states that microfinancing enables poor women to become economic agents of change by increasing their income and productivity access to markets and information, and decision making power. Microfinancing is just a means of providing impoverished women with financial crediting, usually in small amounts, to enhance the productivity of their own small enterprises and other income-generating activities in which they invest. Income generating activities encompasses a wide range of activities such as small business promotion, cooperatives, job creation schemes, sewing circles and credit and savings groups.

Indeed the world is in no shortage of success examples proving that microfinancing to women results in elevation of their social status, independence, improved income and negotiating power. Women are also better able to exercise their rights to sexual and reproductive health.
Learning from a United Nations Development Programme sponsored microfinancing project in Chifeng, Mongolia, apart from the high loan repayment rate, it was found also that the participants were more confident in making decisions and using the loan funds, and were able to provide a clear and transparent fund and credit record-keepings during the audit. They have managed to reinvest earnings to expand and diversify beyond their initial enterprises. They also frequently talked about allocating their earnings to the education of their children, including the daughters.

Dr Alan Rosenfield (Dean, Columbia University School of Public Health) during the panel discussion on the Microcredit Summit Campaign hosted by UNFPA in 2006, noted that when women are better off, so are families and societies. Women empowerment is essential to economic growth, democracy, social justice and human rights.

Microfinancing aims to make small differences in small steps, in lives of women. By feeding opportunities to one woman at a time, she may not ever feed the whole nation as it were, but she will be able to tend to her family better, and give them a livelihood. That, more than anything, means the whole world to her.

My essay, as submitted today for Principles of Family Health module. Not easy okay, to start writing again after so many years!!

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