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SEEP Gender Working Group: A practical voice for collective action

Gender and Society

Issues and Themes. Forms of government vary widely among the developing nations where microfinance clients live. They can be one-man dictatorships, one-party rule, de facto tribal governments, monarchies (benevolent or otherwise), parliamentary democracies, and everything in between. Many societies, especially in the Middle East, are in various stages of transition between one form and something else, still very much to be determined.

Even when gender nondiscrimination is protected by law, discriminatory cultural practices may persist that directly harm women and girls. This is particularly true when families choose to educate sons but not daughters -- even where education is theoretically compulsory for all children. Or where women do not inherit family assets, even when inheritance laws are on the books that theoretically forbid the exclusion of women. Or where women cannot hold titles to land, business, and other productive assets even when the law says they can. And it’s true in contexts where domestic violence is seen as a family matter rather than a crime.

The GWG’s work in this area is to educate its members about government policies and how these affect both microfinance institutions and microfinance clients. We do not believe that the GWG has comparative advantage or influence to bear in this area. But we hope to raise awareness and to celebrate best practices by highlighting examples of government policies that have helped foster gender nondiscrimination and opportunity.

Case Studies and Examples:

Click here for keyword-searchable materials from the GWG’s Document Library.



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