> Posted by Adriana Magdas
Over 80 percent of the poorest microfinance clients worldwide are women, according to The Microcredit Summit Campaign.
If that were all there was to say, that would still be reason enough to celebrate. But that’s not actually where the story ends. Research shows that women are MFIs’ most reliable clients, often attaining a higher impact from their loans.
So it’s no surprise that March 8th, International Women’s Day, has deep significance for the microfinance industry.
The day also has personal meaning for me that resonates with my experience working at the Center for Financial Inclusion. In Romania, where I was born and lived until high school, March 8th is a day to celebrate women while placing a stronger emphasis on celebrating mothers and motherhood.
Growing up, I have to admit that coming up with something creative and cute to impress my mother for the occasion was a stressful and slightly daunting task, but I enjoyed doing it because I loved my mother and because she always seemed pleased. Back then, I had a rudimentary understanding of the important role played by women in society. Years later, I have a deeper appreciation for women throughout the world and especially for the paramount role they play in international development.
This year, the theme for International Women’s Day is “Equal Access to Education, Training, Science and Technology: Pathway to Decent Work for Women.” For many women around the world, obtaining an education is a luxury, and opportunities for gainful employment are few if any.
Microfinance is a tool that allows these women to work towards economic independence and an improved standard of living for themselves and for their families.
Research shows that:
- Microfinance has been successful in reaching poor women through innovative means to address gender disparity concerns (In 2007, 106.6 million dollars were lent to the poorest of the poor through microfinance, women comprising 83.4% of people reached.)
- Microfinance has a positive impact on a client’s income regardless of gender
- Access to reliable microfinance loans and services empowers women and increases their economic security and strengthens their decision-making power within the family
All these findings make microfinance, like International Women’s Day, a reason to celebrate.