Women’s Access to Microfinance Services in Southern Ethiopia: Assessing the Promises, Impacts, Challenges and Gaps

  • Mitiku KebedeEmail author
  • Nigatu Regassa
Part of the Economic Studies in Inequality, Social Exclusion and Well-Being book series (EIAP)


This study focuses on women’s participation in microfinance institutions (MFIs) and the promises and challenges that this entails. Based on data collected from 11,162 households selected from 43 districts, our results indicate that women’s participation in MFIs is fairly low (only 17 percent); 75 percent of them used borrowed money for income generating activities. This result is substantiated by data collected through focus group discussions and key informant interviews with village elders and microfinance institutions’ staff members. Our logistic regression analysis shows that some household and individual variables such as educational status, size of landholding, age, religion, job status, husband’s education level, family size and use of informal credit sources are the main determinants of women’s participation in microfinance services. The main challenges faced by women in participating in microfinance services include high loan requirements, poor resource mobilization by service providers, high withdrawal rates, a big gender gap in loan disbursements and insufficient entrepreneurial training in skill development and financial outlays. These problems lead to mass dropouts from the system.


Decision making Financial services Empowerment Microfinance Southern Nations and Nationalities and People’s Region Voluntary savings 



We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to the Bureau of Women, Children and Youth Agency (BoWCYA) for its financial and technical support for conducting this study. We would also like to recognize the contribution of Hawassa University in facilitating and coordinating the research activities.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EconomicsAddis Ababa UniversityAddis AbabaEthiopia

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