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SEEP Gender Working Group: A practical voice for collective action

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. 

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