MICROCREDIT PROGRAMMES TARGETING MIGRANT WOMEN: EMPOWERING WOMEN THROUGH MICROENTERPRISE?
Department of Education - CSGE (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN12 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Microcredit is a financial tool targeting poor people or people defined as “not bankable”, that is, excluded from formal financial credit institutions because unable to provide collaterals to get a loan. Loans are given to allow poor people starting small business activities that will enable them achieving economic autonomy and “breaking poverty vicious circle”. This is the philosophy underpinning Muhammad Yunus’ Grameen Bank, the first “bank for the poor” founded in Bangladesh in 1976. Yunus decided to promote microcredit programmes in rural areas and to target poor women. Since the Seventies, microcredit programs spread all over the world both following Yunus’ success in Bangladesh, both independently from it. Starting from the Nineties, International Development Organizations increasingly adopted microcredit as a strategic tool not only to fight extreme poverty, but also to support women’s empowerment: access to credit has become one of the privileged strategies to foster women’s emancipation (both social and economic in many development countries.
In the last decade, microcredit programs were progressively introduced in post industrialized countries by different institutions (e.g. bank foundations, not for profit and for profit organizations, cooperatives, etc.) to foster socio-economic and financial inclusion of marginalized categories, such as single mothers, welfare recipients and migrants.
The paper will explore to which extent microcredit programmes actually helps promoting women empowerment. Specifically, data from an ethnographic research carried out in Venice (Italy) will be taken into account in order to describe how migrant women empowerment and integration in the receiving country was pursued by a social cooperative through the promotion of microenterprise.
Keywords: Women, empowerment, microeterprise, microcredit, migrations.