Money Matters: Reaching Women Microentrepreneurs with Financial Services

Gloria Almeyda

Women are key contributors to hopuseholds, enterprises, and community welfare. Yet their economic potential has not been fully realized - in large part because they lack access to productive resources.

For women microentrepreneurs, access to financial services matters. It is critical to their ability to male productive investments in their businesses. As a part of IDB's efforts to strengthen women's roles in economic development, the Women in Development Unit undertook a study to analyze the kinds of financial services available to women microentrepreneurs. It examined the financial services offered by a range of institutions - commercial banks, credit unions, and nongovernmental organizations - in six countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. What services are available? What are the loan sizes and what are their characteristics? What activities do the services finance?

Money Matters synthesizes the results of this study, comparing financial services available among institutions within and across countries. It shows that, in addition to nongovernmental organizations, credit unions and some commercial banks, can and do provide appropriate savings, credit, and other financial services to microentrepreneurs in general, and to low-income women microentrepreneurs in particular. This book contributes to an improved understanding of the new field of microfinance.

Gloria Almeyda is a consultant at the IDB (Women in Development Unit, Social Programs and Sustainable Development Department). She has worked for several years in a variety of countries on financial services and enterprise development among lower income groups.

United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and Inter-American Development Bank
ISBN 1-886938-15-6

Contact Address
Inter-American Development Bank
1300 New York Avenue N.W.,
Washington, D.C., 20577, USA

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