Thesis on Empower Women Through Micro Credit Programmes

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A significant development in recent years has been the mushrooming of community-based organizations and initiatives at the local level for women. Reports indicate that self-help programmes, often in the form of savings and credit or micro credit schemes, have succeeded in changing the lives of poor women, enhancing incomes and generating positive externalities such as increased self-esteem. This paper addresses the challenging issue of whether self-help micro credit programmes are tools for empowering poor women. 'Micro credit is about much more than access to money. It is about women gaining control over the means to make a living. It is about women lifting themselves out of poverty and vulnerability. It is
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over the decades, various strategies have been adopted to empower rural women with some mixed results. One of the viable strategies, quite often talked about, is the role of enterprise to empower rural women. For example, promotion of rural enterprise makes full use of family labour, requires less capital in production and uses locally available raw material. In addition, family ties and kinship linkages may help in promoting rural enterprise. Thus, enterprise development has been considered, among other factors, a powerful tool to eradicate poverty especially among rural women as they are at the lowest rung of poverty ladder in almost all afro-asian countries. For women to become a successful entrepreneur, she needs access to capital, technical and managerial know-how and market. The essence to empower rural women lies in catalyzing appropriate economic activities at the grass root level and creating new opportunities for them to earn higher income in order to improve their standard of living. This objective could be accomplished by establishing enterprises that are based on the locally available resources and preferably indigenous knowledge. Development experience shows that gender inequalities are a major factor impeding progress towards the Millennium Development Goals of poverty reduction.
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