Organization: Simorgh- Women's Resource and Publication Centre
Location: Gulberg-II, Lahore, Pakistan
Micro-finance in Pakistan: Examining Gender and Entrepreneurship
Women belonging to low-income households are the primary clients of microfinance in the Global South. However, studies have indicated that in Pakistan women have limited access to credit. This research examines factors that prevent women from being the main beneficiaries of microfinance and the barriers that microfinance confronts in contributing to sustainable development in low-income households. This paper argues that the gender-blind policies of microfinance institutions limit women’s access to credit. Furthermore, women often utilize loans for household consumption or pass on loans to male-led enterprises due to the fact that women are not self-employed entrepreneurs. Gender-related issues and the traditional division of household labour prevent many women from engaging in entrepreneurial activity. In addition, the microfinance institutions studied in this research fail to enforce their own policy of only providing loans for the purpose of investment in an enterprise. A majority of loans are used for consumption smoothing purposes, which can eventually indebt clients and their families instead of resulting in an increase in income or empowerment.