|Microfinance and Women|
Criticality of women and gender issues in microfinance programmes is best highlighted by a quote from Mohammed Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank. Explaining why 94 percent of Grameen Bank's loans go to women, he said, "Women have plans for themselves, for their children, about their home, the meals. They have a vision. A man wants to enjoy himself." Availability of finance to women ensures that resources and profits generated are ploughed back into the development of the immediate household and family. Protection of family values, of health and safety of household members, of a more even distribution of income, can be seen as a result.
Better distribution of income and other resources in the household essentially means that personal health and well being is protected - a key to broader development processes. As a result, experimentation and innovation is attempted, and risk of environmental accidents or hazards reduced, particularly in home-based or household-based enterprises, where women play a significant role.
This enablement also introduces a sensitivity of environmental problems and effects to a household in its everyday life.