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Gender and rural microfinance: Reaching and empowering women Guide for practitioners Enabling poor rural people to overcome poverty This paper was prepared by Linda Mayoux and Maria Hartl. Linda Mayoux is an international consultant on gender issues in economic development including microfinance. She is currently global consultant for Oxfam Novib’s Women’s Empowerment, Mainstreaming and Networking (WEMAN) programme. Mayoux prepared this paper in collaboration with Maria Hartl, Technical Advis
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  Enabling poor rural people to overcome poverty Gender and rural microfinance: Reaching andempowering women Guide for practitioners   This paper was prepared by Linda Mayoux and Maria Hartl.Linda Mayoux is an international consultant on gender issues in economicdevelopment including microfinance. She is currently global consultant for OxfamNovib’s Women’s Empowerment, Mainstreaming and Networking (WEMAN)programme. Mayoux prepared this paper in collaboration with Maria Hartl, Technical Adviser for Gender and Social Equity in IFAD’s Technical Advisory Division. AnninaLubbock, Senior Technical Adviser for Gender and Poverty Targeting, Michael Hamp,Senior Technical Adviser for Rural Finance. Ambra Gallina, Gender and Poverty Targeting Consultant, also contributed. The following people reviewed the content: Maria Pagura (Rural Finance Officer, RuralInfrastructure and Agro-Industries Division of the Food and Agriculture Organizationof the United Nations (FAO), Carola Saba (Development Manager, Women’s WorldBanking) and Margaret Miller (Senior Microfinance Specialist, Consultative Group to Assist the Poor – CGAP). The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do notnecessarily represent those of the International Fund for Agricultural Development(IFAD). The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publicationdo not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of IFADconcerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, orconcerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The designations‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries are intended for statistical convenience anddo not necessarily express a judgement about the stage reached by a particularcountry or area in the development process. This publication or any part thereof may be reproduced without prior permission fromIFAD, provided that the publication or extract therefrom reproduced is attributed toIFAD and the title of this publication is stated in any publication and that a copythereof is sent to IFAD. Cover: Innovative ways of saving, such as making collective deposits to increase returns, can make asignificant contribution to women’s empowerment. Powerguda, India © IFAD, R. Chalasani © 2009 by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) August 2009   Acronyms3Introduction5  Aims of the guide6 Why is gender mainstreaming important for women? Potential gender impacts8 Potential benefits of rural microfinance: Virtuous spirals8Importance of gender mainstreaming: Potential vicious circles10 Mainstreaming gender equality and empowerment: Institutional implications16 Elements of a gender strategy16Organizational gender mainstreaming16 From access to empowerment: Designing financial products21 Credit25Savings27Insurance28Remittances31Demand-driven product development: Market research and financial literacy34 Increasing empowerment: Rural microfinance, non-financial services,participation and macro-level strategies38 Integration and inter-organizational collaboration to provide non-financial services38Participation and collective action42Promoting an enabling environment for gender-equitable rural microfinance:Consumer protection and gender advocacy48  Annexes: Decision checklists for gender audit57  A. Organizational gender policy decision checklist58B. Gender questions in product and programme design60C. Programme design: Rural microfinance, non-financial services and participation67D. Gender impact checklist69 References72 Contents  Boxes 1 Mainstreaming gender: Elements of a strategy in minimalist rural microfinance institutions17 2 Organizational mainstreaming: Some key strategies for financially sustainable organizations18 3 Possible gender indicators for insertion into social performance management20 4 Increasing women’s access to financial services: Early recommendations23 5 Innovation in loan products26 6 Savings products29 7 Insurance programmes for women31 8 Financial literacy35 9 Financial action learning system36 10 Mainstreaming empowerment in core activities39 11 Innovations in integrating financial and non-financial services40 12 Savings-and-credit groups: Advantages and disadvantages for women43 13 Participation and empowerment through microfinance groups46 14 Supporting women’s property rights in microfinance programmes48 15 Women’s political participation through microfinance groups50 16 Measures to promote an enabling environment for gender mainstreaming53 17 Framework for gender equitable consumer protection54 2
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