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Kenji Wada

This chapter demonstrates how microfinance has served as a part of the neoliberal project that tends to legitimize the diminished role of the state by transforming female borrowers into self-sufficient entrepreneurial subjects. Prominent practitioners and advocates of microfinance claim that the expansion of microfinance lowers poverty levels and produces empowered self-sufficient women in rural areas while the growing critical literature on microfinance has also found evidence of its negative impacts on women. The chapter draws on these critical theorists – particularly those who use ethnographic approaches and the Foucauldian perspective. Their approaches enable us to explore the effects of power in relation to microfinance. The chapter elaborates on the argument that microfinance is a tool that places the burden of poverty reduction on the shoulders of poor women rather than empowering women to transform patriarchal society.