SEEP Gender Working Group: A practical voice for collective action
2012 Annual Meeting
The Gender Working Group met this year during the 2012 SEEP Annual Conference. Read the notes from the meeting.
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The Gender Working Group: A practical voice for collective action
Why a gender working group?
Gender issues pose a complex set of challenges for development. Both formal laws and social norms can create a wide range of obstacles -- heavy household workloads, unequal control over land or assets, lower educational attainment, and domestic violence, to name just a few -- which hinder women’s economic prospects. In response, the microfinance and microenterprise development industries were largely built around certain gendered premises: that women are disproportionately excluded from economic and financial opportunities, that women are better credit risks, that they are more likely to use any increase in income for the benefit of their families. There are many fine initiatives underway around gender in microfinance, and many experts are studying gender from a variety of microfinance perspectives.
But there is often a large gap between theoretical discussions about gender’s importance in understanding and responding to poverty, and the actual practices of microfinance and microenterprise institutions. The SEEP Gender Working Group was created to serve as a practical voice for collective action towards integrating gender into microfinance and microenterprise development. It seeks to serve its members with practical tools from a wide and diverse range of sources, and with a platform where they can share their own work, ideas, and challenges.
Key Challenges and Opportunities
- The majority of the world’s poor are women. Any mission that targets poverty reduction must include effective ways to work with women.
- Progress around gender issues requires a deliberate, intentional, and sustained effort.
- There is a need to compile the work being done around gender to examine its relevance and potential applications.
- There is a vast gap between theory and practice.