The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty
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The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty

Concepts, Research, Policy

Edited by Sylvia Chant

In the interests of contextualising (and nuancing) the multiple interrelations between gender and poverty, Sylvia Chant has gathered writings on diverse aspects of the subject from a range of disciplinary and professional perspectives, achieving extensive thematic as well as geographical coverage. This benchmark volume presents women’s and men’s experiences of gendered poverty with respect to a vast spectrum of intersecting issues including local to global economic transformations, family, age, ‘race’, migration, assets, paid and unpaid work, health, sexuality, human rights, and conflict and violence.
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Chapter 93: Gender and Poverty in Microfinance: Illustrations from Zambia

Irene Banda Mutalima


Irene Banda Mutalima Microfinance is a useful intervention for poverty reduction because it enables poor people to participate in their own development through the establishment or enhancement of enterprises which, in increasing incomes, nominally offer the prospect of improved livelihoods. In recognition of the importance of microcredit, the United Nations (UN) declared 2005 as the year of microfinance, and the 2006 Nobel Peace prize was shared between Dr Muhammad Yunus, a microfinance pioneer, and his microfinance institution (MFI), the Grameen Bank. In 2007 the Microcredit Summit Campaign reported that as at the end of December 2006, 3316 microfinance institutions had reached 133 million clients, 93 million of whom were among the poorest when they took their first loan. It is assumed that 465 million members of poorest families were positively impacted. This profile of microfinance has triggered change in its perception from a poverty or development programme to a financial sector component. Traditional banks which previously would not have served this market, are now embracing microentrepreneurs. The industry has accordingly seen tremendous growth in the amounts of money being invested. The Consultative Group for Assisting the Poor (CGAP), the World Bank microfinance body, indicates that between 2004 and 2006, the stock of foreign capital investment into microfinance globally more than tripled to US$4 billion (Reille and Forster, 2008). The report further acknowledges that microfinance is a very attractive proposition for a growing segment of socially responsible investors. The socially responsible investment (SRI) market is huge, with over US$4...

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