The year 2010 marked the 15th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action at the Fourth World Conference on Women (1995). Among its many recommendations for achieving gender equality and equity is a call for access to financial services as a means of empowering women, especially the millions of women who live in impoverished and marginalized conditions around the world.
This e-publication highlights the results of a survey of women clients of microfinance institutions in 14 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, with a special focus on the effects of the social services provided by those institutions. It finds that microfinance, when offered in conjunction with health education services, can both empower women and improve their sexual and reproductive health.
The survey teams conducted personal interviews with 2,533 female clients of microfinance institutions. This preliminary study was conducted to better understand and evaluate the impact of microfinance on women’s empowerment and the impact of microfinance-related health education services on their sexual and reproductive health.