Saturday, November 04, 2006

Forbes Turns a Critical Eye on Microcredit

But skeptics counter that women borrow from other sources to repay the loans. That often means resorting to moneylenders--or loans from friends and family--to pay back the microloan and vice versa, trapping them in a cycle of debt.

I have been wondering why men were never the targets for microcredit loans. Apparently the movement is also pushing Western-style feminism, which of couse backfires:
This means that microcredit's other goal--to empower women in highly patriarchal societies--isn't always achieved, either. In Tumkur, a city outside Bangalore, a group of women received $30 loans. They stood in a circle, placed their hands on the money and pledged to use their loans to launch businesses. But afterward, each handed the money to her husband, and the men started the businesses. Since the women are responsible for repaying the loan, they suffer the consequences if their husbands squander the money.

I don't see why microcredit activists need to tack on to an economic development program a merely decades-old Western feminist ideology of empowerment. If the women are giving the money to their husbands anyway, why not focus on shaping the men into responsible patriarchs rather than attempting to start futile cultural revolutions?

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