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during January 22-24, 2009
WOMAN ENTREPRENEURS AND NETWORKING
Prof. Chowdari Prasad
Professor of Finance & Registrar, Alliance Business School Bangalore – 560 068, Email: Chowdari.email@example.com and
Vamshi Krishna Arumbaka
Business School Bangalore – 560 068, Email: Vamshiavk@yahoo.com
PGP Student (Marketing), Alliance
The average Indian woman plays many roles in life - as a daughter, sister, wife, mother, employee, professional, employer, business woman, etc and contributes to the well-being of her family. Though media sings hymns of stories of a very few successful female professionals or entrepreneurs, the reality is scary. Literacy rate among women continues to be very low. Despite several claims and policies about their emancipation, only 10% of the entrepreneurs are women. They still walk many miles everyday for water, food, work, education, etc. Although entrepreneurship is catching up in post reforms era, they have many hurdles to cross and extra battles to win to be on par with men. Women have contributed as ‘Intrapreneurs’ for far too long by remaining behind their men. The new breed CEOs are no longer subject to biases based on gender. Many women are now opting to craft their goals and dreams to become entrepreneurs. Government Schemes and availability of institutional finance support them fully. The paper looks at the success stories of leading women entrepreneurs who are net-worked. Lijjat Papad, SEWA, AWAKE, FIWE, and many SHGs are examples of testimony for believing that changes can bring more and more women to network.
Introduction: One woman starts dreaming to do something big, concrete, different or unusual to harness her potential and wants to convert the dream to reality. Others keep a watch and follow or join her subsequently in her endeavors and the networking takes place. There are certain inherent qualities that make her an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is not merely starting a business and making profits. Almost 35% of the women in India are surviving economic crises for long years silently. There are several hurdles that hinder and her dream remains a dream. Hurdles that the age old customs, traditions, culture, religious practices, etc., that restrain them to be progressive. Indian Women and Literacy: Literacy rates in India are very low. National Literacy Mission (NLM) statistics show that only 54.16% of women are literate. The Commission also lists out factors responsible for poor female literacy rate. Historically, a variety of factors have been found to be responsible for poor female literacy rate, viz., 1. Gender based inequality 2. Social discrimination and economic exploitation 3. Occupation of girl child in domestic chores 4. Low enrolment of girls in schools and 5. Low retention rate and high dropout rate To improve the literacy rate NLM suggests the following measures: • • • • Create an environment where women demand knowledge and information, empowering themselves to change their lives. Inculcate in women the confidence that change is possible, if women work collectively. Spread the message that education of women is a pre-condition for fighting against their oppression. Highlight the plight of the girl child and stress the need for universalisation of elementary education as a way of addressing the issue.
Literacy in women enables them to reach a state of heightened social awareness, increase in school enrolments, and increase in self confidence and personality development, gender equality and empowerment.
It also helps in improving the woman's status in the family, health and hygiene.
Literacy helps developing entrepreneurial spirit in women. Participation of women in literacy campaigns has opened several opportunities for neo-literate women to step out of the households and involve themselves in some enterprise or a new vocation. The Dumka campaign in Bihar has demonstrated how literacy campaign helped women to take charge of their own lives. They have formed a group called “Jago Behna” (Awake sister), which tries to sensitize the women to the need of collective action against social ills. These women have also set up “Didi Bank” (Sister Bank) which promotes the habits of thrift and savings. Women have also learnt maintaining a hand pump thereby breaking their dependence for repairs on mechanics from outside the village. It also helps them to achieve financial strength and access to credit. In almost all the districts, the literacy campaigns have gone beyond the transaction of mere literary skills and have served to enhance knowledge and skills for better management of expenditure and improving earning capacities. In several districts, the women participants in literacy campaigns have begun to set aside their earnings not only in regular banks but also in specially thrift societies. Such societies, as for example in Dumka are run by the women themselves. It is the unity and determination of these women that made this drive a grand success. Women at Dumka realized that being in a group or community is always fruitful than being a lone soldier. The power of networking is in its convergence. The convergence of ideas, thoughts, motivation, and fight will always end up in the convergence of benefits. And networking is what would solve the evil. Networking helps the change to happen gradually but steadily and in an ever increasing way in concentric circles. Networking would help women to be in touch with others similarly placed and share ideas,
techniques, exchange information and help each other. Globally empowerment of women and gender equality is recognized as a key element to achieve progress in all areas. BARRIERS & MOTIVATION: While there are so many barriers like literacy, family responsibilities, lack of selfconfidence, ethnic barriers, hostile culture and societal reactions, lack of financial help, fear of risk and failure keep women away from trying something on their own many have treaded this path and become successful in their own right. Many women have come together as one group, community, network and turned entrepreneurs. LITERATURE REVIEW: What makes women turn to become self-employed and entrepreneurs? In an early study of women entrepreneurs, Carter and Cannon (1988) examined the motivational and behavioural characteristics of 60 female business owners, utilising both structured questionnaires and unstructured interviews. They found that the need for independence was an important motivating factor to start a business for the women in their sample. Brindley and Ritchie (1999) aimed to explore the personal and contextual factors that influence the start-up and successful continuation of women’s businesses. Taking a comparative approach, they conducted twenty semi-structured interviews with SME owner/managers, ten female and ten male, in order to examine how personal and contextual factors may be gender related. They found that the female entrepreneurs’ main motivations for starting their own businesses were the need for flexibility due to childcare responsibilities, and their negative experiences of previous employment. Many authors have suggested that women are choosing to enter self-employment in order to overcome certain barriers such as the ‘glass ceiling’, thus linking women’s motivations with their position in the Labour market more generally (Buttner and Moore 1997). With the motivational factors encouraging let us look at how some women in India and abroad have benefited from being in networks that is dynamic and encouraging.
SELF HELP GROUPS (SHGs): The Self Help Groups (SHG)s predominantly in Andhra Pradesh and elsewhere, aim to do exactly this. Poor rural men and women are given micro credit to undertake entrepreneurial activity thus helping them generate income and pay back to the bank in small installments. The interest rates are flexible and low and ensure that the women keep something off the income as savings reducing their dependence on banks. Sometimes small groups of women are given credit in groups. LIZZAT PAPAD: It is more beneficial when women operate in a network because it is not just a louder voice but a strengthened workforce, better management, faster access and to summarize adds more gun powder to the equation. The story of Lizzat Papad and how it succeeded is well known to all. It stands a testimony to how networking can be a solution to many problems of women entrepreneurs. It all began on 15th March 1959, which was a warm summer day with the sun shining brightly in the cloudless sky. A majority of the women inhabitants of an old residential building in Girgaum (a thickly populated area of South Bombay), were busy attending their usual domestic chores. Seven women gathered on the terrace of the building and started a small inconspicuous function. The function ended shortly, the result - production of 4 packets of Papads and a firm resolve to continue production. This pioneer batch of 7 women had set the ball rolling. As the days went by, the additions to this initial group of 7 was ever-increasing. The institution began to grow. The early days were not easy. The institution had its trials and tribulations. The faith and patience of the members were put to test on several occasions - they had no money but started on a borrowed sum of Rs. 80/-. Self-reliance was the policy and no monetary help was to be sought (not even voluntarily offered donations). Work, however, started on commercial footing. With quality consciousness as the principle that guided production, Lijjat grew to be the flourishing and successful organization that it is today, a Rs. 300 Crore entity. Today Shri Mahila Griha Udyog has a wide range of papad, khakra, vadi, masala, atta,
bakery products, chapati, appalam and detergent and the network supports more than 45,000 families. BHAGAVATHULA CHARITABLE TRUST: It was way back in 1967, when even the commercial banks did not enter the arena of rural banking in a big way, Dr Parameswara Rao, a Ph.D in Nuclear Physics returned from USA foregoing his bright and lucrative job opportunities to start a movement to help poor women in his home town in Anakapalle District near Vizag, Andhra Pradesh. His wife and other family members should solidly behind this bold initiative. Dr Rao could be considered a pioneer in India in what is today called Micro Finance to network women for undertaking income generating and employment creating activities in rural areas. SEWA: Self Employment Women Association (SEWA) is a trade union registered in 1972. It is an organisation of poor, self-employed women workers. These are women who earn a living through their own labour or small businesses. They do not obtain regular salaried employment with welfare benefits like workers in the organised sector. They are the unprotected labour force of our country. Constituting 93% of the labour force, these are workers of the unorganised sector. Of the female labour force in India, more than 94% are in the unorganised sector. However, their work is not counted and hence remains invisible. In fact, women workers themselves remain uncounted, undercounted and invisible. SEWA’s main goals are to organise women workers for full employment. Full employment means employment whereby workers obtain work security, income security, food security and social security (at least health care, child care and shelter). SEWA organises women to ensure that every family obtains full employment. By self-reliance we mean that women should be autonomous and self-reliant, individually and collectively, both economically and in terms of their decision-making ability. At SEWA workers are organized to achieve their goals of full employment and self reliance through the strategy of struggle and development.
The struggle is against the many constraints and limitations imposed on them by society and the economy, while development activities strengthen women’s bargaining power and offer them new alternatives. Practically, the strategy is carried out through the joint action of union and cooperatives. Gandhian thinking is the guiding force for SEWA’s poor, selfemployed members in organising for social change. They follow the principles of satya (truth), ahimsa (non-violence), sarvadharma (integrating all faiths, all people) and khadi (propagation of local employment and self reliance). SEWA is both an organization and a movement. The SEWA movement is enhanced by its being a sangam or confluence of three movements: the labour movement, the cooperative movement and the women’s movement. But it is also a movement of self-employed workers: their own, home-grown movement with women as the leaders. Through their own movement, women become strong and visible. Their tremendous economic and social contributions thus become recognized. SKS FINANCE: Vikram Akula's Swayam Krushi Sangham - SKS Micro Finance, established with the motto of 'empowering the poor' is a significant contribution. Launched in 1998, SKS Microfinance is one of the fastest growing microfinance organizations in the world, having provided over US $1 billion (Rs 5,141 Crore) and has maintained loans outstanding of US$ 420 million (2,098 Crore) in loans to 33,31,167 women members in poor regions of India. Borrowers take loans for a range of income-generating activities, including livestock, agriculture, trade (such as vegetable vending), production (from basket weaving to pottery) and new age businesses (Beauty Parlor to Photography). SKS also offers interest-free loans for emergencies as well as life insurance to its members. Its NGO wing SKS Foundation runs the Ultra Poor Program. SKS currently has 1,361 microfinance branches in 18 states across India. SKS aims to reach 8,000,000 members by 2010. In the last year alone, SKS Microfinance has achieved nearly 170 % growth, with 99% on-time repayment rate.
COWE: The Confederation Of Women Entrepreneurs (COWE) advocates this democratic philosophy of “By women, Of women, For women” from rural, urban, national and international areas; from various backgrounds aspiring to be socially, economically self reliant, irrespective of their present status provides guidance to grow and work as a group, in a network. Celebrating the spirit of womanhood and providing a chance to meet and learn from other women in the group at one place COWE organizes monthly retreats, discussion forums, and financial advisory and yearly meets which also work as a platform to showcase their talent and passion towards self-reliance. These yearly meets are called “trade carnivals” and have seen a great success inviting critical acclaim from both industry, corporate and Government. COWE was established in November 2004 and lobbies with Government and Financial Institutions for collective support to develop clusters of women entrepreneurship. It is also involved in procuring land through government support to set up exclusive industrial estates for women in Food Processing, Biotech Parks and other non-polluting industries. It also succeeded in reserving a 10% of the SEZs (Special Economic Zones) for women. Also COWE helps women interested in treading the path of entrepreneurship in gaining financial help for viable ideas from banks at low rates of interest. Some of the ventures that were helped by COWE bring out products like designer candles, toys, handicrafts, show pieces, fridge magnets, designer blouses, dresses, material, apparels, woven traditional wear, home and house keeping, portraits, arts, beauty solutions and what not. Some even have set up beauty parlors, small service stations, counseling centres, etc. Thus COWE works as an enabler to success and entrepreneurship among women, encourages them, provides a platform to exhibit their achievements and motivates themselves and others. FIWE: Women Entrepreneurs in India represent a dynamic group of women who have broken away from the beaten track, where demands at home, family oppositions and cultural inhibitions, have led to lack of support, resources and opportunities; are now exploring
new vistas of economic participation with an all new vigor. A great many of them have chosen the ‘Entrepreneurs World’ because of a compelling urge to do something positive. They are the pace setters for women in their quest for economic independence. The Federation of Indian Women Entrepreneurs (FIWE), which is a National-level Organization, brings the businesswomen on a common platform and ensures that their opinions, ideas and visions are collectively and effectively taken up with policy makers and various other agencies for the development of entrepreneurship in women. Collectively FIWE endeavors to (a) Create public awareness towards women's contribution to the National Economy, (b) Establish pressure groups advocating the cause of women, and (c) Educate and train young women entrepreneurs for their right initiation into business. FIWE is working towards National and International Co-operation amongst Women Entrepreneurs with a singular motive: Together Towards a Glorious Future! This should be the aim of all the networks: Together Towards a Glorious Future! Let us see how this Network could function and how useful it can be. What Mahatma Gandhi said half a decade ago holds water even now. India lives in its villages. Unless the grassroot level women and their families are pulled out of the poverty, dependence on local money lenders and daily labor to ensure they have at least a meal everyday earning just about Rs. 100/- for 8 to 10 hours of hard manual labor we can never achieve real development. This can be overcome by networking. Addressing literacy, groups of women should be given a chance at education by allowing them to learn to read and write in a month. This group will be entrusted to teach other women in their villages and then the network grows like a web increasing in number and size. The whole thing is controlled from a hub where the initiator would keep sending ripples of information to the network regularly. During this period a minimum wage should be paid to the women in order to keep her off the manual labor. But this should be attached to her performance and once she starts contributing to the network she could be trained to as a primary level teacher. The wage can also be collected from the other
women in the network who would be working while other network members will be learning and will earn when they learn. Rotation basis will also be followed to ensure all the women in the network would stay in contact with the hub. This would also act as an information dissemination hub which would help them to stay updated about the latest credit policies, financial information, changes in the agricultural developments, etc. The hub can also be used to pass on ideas on entrepreneurial advice at village level. Economic, managerial and operational advise will be given to the women to help them trade better, information on loans, repayments, suggestions to improve quality, return-on-investment, reduce wastage can be provided. This would help in increasing the quality of the whole system. It would also help in achieving self-reliance, self-confidence and independence in rural women. The whole system of rural empowerment should be run by women as the key elements of power and points of strategic inflection. The network should have clear objectives and goals both for individuals and groups as a whole and all the activities will be clearly aimed achieving them strictly. Equal opportunities, status, removal of traditional, cultural hurdles to empowerment would be possible only when they are fought for as a group. Help from several national and international agencies both from government and private contribution have to be taken to understand and contribute to this network. Some of them are: Domestic Agencies: • Small Industries Development Bank of India, SIDBI • Industrial Development Bank of India, IDBI • Ministry of Small Scale Industries (SSI), Government. of India. • National Bank for Agriculture Rural Development, NABARD • Department of Women and Child Development (WCD), Ministry of HRD, GOI • Self Help Groups (SHG) • Mahila Mandali • SKS Micro Finance by Vikram Akula
International Agencies: • United Nations Development Fund for Women, UNIFEM • Asian Development Bank, ADB • International Labour Organization, ILO • United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD • Center for International Private Enterprises, CIPE, USA • Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, SIDA, Sweden • World Trade Organization, WTO. Literacy and Financial Education would help women become better negotiators and the network would help them get loans. Once this is done, the network would help them maintain their business, encourage, advise and help them sustain. Taking a chance to fund the future dream and fighting for it instead of waiting for some miracle to happen is important for addressing the problem of social development. The questions like, "Are you sure?", "What about the risk?" can be addressed when the issue is tackled in unity. The network helps providing contingency to the women and helps them till they succeed in achieving independence - both financial and cultural. Yeshasvini Ramaswamy, considered as the first woman HR Entrepreneur in Indian HR industry says, "One need not be in the main function of production, marketing, sales and service. What the women in India should look at is the support functions where a huge gap exists." She continues to point out that in countries like US, many policies help in building women entrepreneurs. Her 'e2e People Practice' venture has more than 15 million with branches in major cities of India. While women shy away from the entrepreneurial path as it is considered too hard and not worth fighting for, the problem lies in its realization. The CII Women's Business Leaders Forum is dedicated to influence policy making and provide sustainable environment that encourage more women to rise to the fore. Although women’s access to financial services has increased substantially in the past 10 years, their ability to benefit from this access is often still limited by the disadvantages
they experience because of their gender. Some MFIs are providing a decreasing percentage of loans to women, even as these institutions grow and offer new loan products. Others have found that on an average, women’s loan sizes are smaller than those of men, even when they are in the same credit program, the same community, and the same lending group. Being in a network would help overcome this. It is easier to get a loan as a group as there is a collective responsibility and management. Giving women the opportunity to work together and build on each other’s skills while minimizing risks is a strategy that should be explored in other contexts where women are initiating economic activity and a network would facilitate such moves. The new age female CEOs are different. They are in boardrooms, corner offices; they are strong, young, educated, and high on risk taking, bold and full of passion. They are rewriting the old rules of management, leadership, entrepreneurship and traditions. The young talent is looking at everything as an opportunity from the agricultural sector to IT, event management to retail and so on. Ruchi Chopra is 24 and is the CEO of ASAP which sands for Any Surprises Any Place. She is earning big money and even before she passes out of the National Institute of Fashion Technology has developed a large loyal client base. Sapna Gupta is 35 and is the Founder Director of Air Hostess Academy (AHA) which has 40 centers in 29 cities and trains hundreds of aspiring Airhostesses. Many have also taken over age old well established family businesses and did not let the firm feel the pinch of transition. Some of them are Devita Saraf who has taken over her father’s Rs. 300 Crore hardware manufacturing empire: Zenith Computers, Schauna Chauhan Saluja took over the 700 Crore Parle empire from her father, Pooja Jain took over Luxor Writing Intruments and these are but a few. There are many women who take active part in their family businesses which range from small homefront kirana store to a large mall or a factory. At every level their dream, glitter and passion is the same. STUDY REPORT OF NATIONAL KNOWLEDGE COMMISSION, 2008 The National Knowledge Commission’s report on Entrepreneurship gives some positive findings about the changing times on women in entrepreneurial roles. Women are turning
to entrepreneurship as an option to stay independent, create employment and take it up as a challenge.
The above figure indicates a comparative picture of variations according to gender and the positive factors with regard to independence, challenge, money, creating of employment opportunities, work, etc. Interestingly, it may be found that among female entrepreneurs, money occupies the lowest position vis-à-vis to be independent is of the high order followed by challenge and creating of employment opportunities. Similarly, the NKC report states that the chances of being an entrepreneur are not dictated by gender anymore. Both men and women have almost the same influence on how they
look at entrepreneurship as an option for livelihood. Almost 66% of the times there is no difference of gender as a factor as given in the figure below.
Unity is strength is the adage and it stands true in networking as well. Networking provides greater access to knowledge, to technologies, financial help and equipment. Networking facilitates quicker problem solving, faster resolutions, better bargaining power, lesser risk, sustaining capacity and success. Networking would bring electricity and education to villages. It would ensure that the fire in the stoves is burning and so is the spirit of independence and confidence. Networking would help women to be better, smarter and efficient entrepreneurs who would change the way they are looked at in the society. GLOBAL SCENE: The growing importance of women entrepreneurs to the economies of the developing world cannot be disputed. However, the growth of this sector will be stifled as long as the financial sector works against them and their need for access to credit. The solution is for governments and financial institutions to form a partnership in order to examine the
potential and special needs of women entrepreneurs in their countries and to make the necessary positive changes. Donors or local groups such as Chambers of Commerce and well-known women’s associations may even be able to act as catalysts in order to bring the two sides together and work to open up financial resources to women entrepreneurs. According to Noni S. Ayo, the Managing Director of Agricultural and Rural Development for Catanduanes, Incorporated (ARDCI) which has a network of 23,000 provinces in Phillipines, women in their network observed improvement in their status and now earn more respect from their children, family and society. Their self dependence and confidence have increased excellence and leadership skills. She also mentions that these were the same illiterate, poor, shy women who joined the network a few years ago. Networking has been the solution to many problems that are faced by women entrepreneurs all over the world. The World Association of Women Entrepreneurs (Femmes Chefs d’Entreprises Mondiales, FCEM) currently organizes national affiliates in 35 states, and has been headed since 1998 by the Tunisian entrepreneur Layla Khaïat. The European Association of Women Entrepreneurs indirectly influenced the construction of the European economic area by lending Europe a positive connotation through their network and establishing it as a self-evident sphere of action for women entrepreneurs. The Femmes Business Angels network was launched in October 2003 to facilitate Women Business Angels in direct contact with male and female innovative start up entrepreneurs seeking investors and mentors. This will bring angels of both Networks closer and be able to leverage if for their investee companies. The First Women’s Bank Limited (FWBL) was established in 1989 in Pakistan, as a nationalized commercial bank to cater solely to the financial needs of women entrepreneurs. Its mandate is to improve the socio-economic status of women by creating opportunities for their development through enhanced economic participation. It has been designed to serve the dual purpose of a commercial bank as well as a development finance institution. This network has more than 28,000 women. Bangladesh Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI) is a non-profit and non-political
organization with the aim to bring about women’s economic development and empowerment. Set up in June 2001, the Bangladesh Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry is among the few business chambers for women in the world, other ones being in Sri Lanka and Pakistan and has more than 20,000 women. Formed in 1987, Women Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal (WEAN) was established as an autonomous association formed by and for women entrepreneurs in Nepal. Its objective is to draw out women entrepreneurs and encourage them to work towards excellence in their businesses and has helped more than 12,500 women. CONCLUSIONS: So there is a potential to address and eradicate all the problems. It is also proven that women have been contributing to the economic development of many countries but there lacks a realization and all their work goes invisible. But, for a few super success stories like Kiran Mazundar Shaw of Biocon, Chanda Kochar, the incumbent MD & CEO of ICICI Bank, Mallika Srinivasan of Tractor And Farm Equipments (TAFE), Amrita Patel of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), Vinita Bali of Britannia Industries, Kalpana Chawla, Sunita Williams of NASA, President Pratibha Patil, Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson of UPA, Mamata Banerjee-MP, Jayalalitha (TN) from Indian Politics, Shobaa De, Arundhati Roy, Priety Zinta from IPL very few have achieved limelight they deserve. Although few women have been striving hard for women’s emancipation and overall growth along with several other causes like Medha Patkar of the Narmada Bachchao Andolan, Mother Theresa-the Nobel Laurete, most of the contribution goes unnoticed. There should be a framework, an action plan to uplift women from the oppression and give them economic independence and a voice. Networking can help achieve this. SUGGESTIONS: To help women networks achieve their potential and make them entrepreneurs the following steps need to be followed.
The most important challenge would be to attack on illiteracy and eradication of poverty. Through networking education can be passed on to small groups from a centre, government and corporate entities can provide for text books, material, resources, teachers, funding the needy and other charitable work, etc. which would help in a systematic improvement in the situation. Enrolment of female child in school should be made mandatory, and incentives be given to families who have educated children, educate the families in villages the need to be educated. A multi pronged approach is to be adopted to motivate the women to pursue entrepreneurial activities. Commitment and wholehearted support are crucial for any initiative intended to emancipate Indian women. Concerted efforts must be put in to raise the level of women entrepreneurship in SSI. Social activists, NGOs, Government agencies and corporate sector should play an active role in the transformation of women and in driving the women to explore entrepreneurial opportunities. Women need a diversity of provision, both in view of their own individual needs for different types of savings, loans, insurance, pensions and so on, and in view of differences in needs between women. There is a range of microfinance models into which elements of this empowerment strategy could be implemented, from mainstream banks and financial service providers through large poverty-targeting banks to smaller microfinance programmes providing savings and credit to members of women’s movements and Labour organizations. An empowerment approach does, however, involve a significant change in attitude and work practices and the challenging of vested interests. Flexibility to women’s needs and deciding the best ways of combining empowerment and sustainability objectives can only be achieved on the basis of extensive consultation with women, research on their needs, strategies and constraints, and a process of negotiation between women and development agencies. It therefore inevitably requires a more comprehensive framework for women’s participation at all levels, rather than imposition of particular models depending on the particular donor fashion extant at the time.
Finally, despite the potential contribution of microfinance programmes to women’s empowerment, realizing this contribution is dependent on, rather than a substitute for, adequate welfare provision and feminist mobilization. What is particularly worrying about the current situation is that financially sustainable minimalist microfinance is being promoted as the key strategy for poverty alleviation and empowerment in response to ever-decreasing official development assistance budgets. Unless microfinance is conceived as part of a broader strategy for transformation of gender inequality, it risks becoming yet one more means of shifting the costs and responsibilities for development onto very poor women. *************************************
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Websites: 1. http://www.gemconsortium.org/download/1232428620182/GEM_Global_08.pdf 2. http://www.fiwe.org/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=137 3. http://www.lijjat.com/ 4. http://awakeindia.org.in/main.php 5. http://www.fiwe.org/ 6. http://www.gendercide.org 7. http://www.census.gov/ 8. http://www.sewa.org/aboutus/index.asp 9. http://www.the-week.com