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Women's Empowerment and Participation in Microfinance: Evidence, Issues and Ways Forward
This article critically examines the paradigms and assumptions underlying microfinance and empowerment, reviews evidence of the empowering effects of microfinance, and outlines alternative models for 'best practice'. It finds that while many microfinance programmes have empowering effects, these outcomes are not necessarily automatic and will benefit from deliberate gender strategies, linkages with other interventions (e.g, literacy, health, rights awareness), and an explict empowerment agenda.