Microfinance Services and Women’s Empowerment

Living reference work entry
Part of the International Handbooks in Business Ethics book series (IHBE)


Empowering women and increasing gender equity is assumed to be crucial in achieving economic growth and improving well-being around the world. Offering women access to microfinance services is one prominent approach to improve the position of women in society and to help them move out of poverty. This chapter provides a short introduction to microfinance services in general and introduces the theoretical explanations how financial and nonfinancial microfinance services may empower women. Furthermore, the chapter summarizes relevant research on the impact of the provision of these services on women’s empowerment. Different insights are presented to illustrate how gendered power between female loan borrowers and their husbands may be influenced by the impact of microfinance services. The chapter concludes with a critical ethical and empirical discussion on the contribution of offering microfinance services to women to empower them and suggest new avenues for future research.


Microfinance Women’s Empowerment Gender Inequity Male Backlash 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social PsychologyUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Economics, Econometrics, and FinanceUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Development Economics GroupWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

Section editors and affiliations

  • Leire San-Jose
    • 1
  1. 1.ECRI Ethics in Finance Research GroupUniversity of the Basque Country. UPV/EHUBILBAOSpain

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