By Liliana Alegría Zevallos

The present article sums up shortly the finds and conclusions of two researches carried out for MIDE¹; with the attempt of knowing the impacts of the credit services and microfinancial services. Historically, the women in the Andine rural area in Peru, didn´t have access neither to the control nor the decissions regarding the use of economic resourses, therefore they couldn´t either develop the use of their capacities, freedom to elect and use these capacities; in some cases we think that there isn´t even a starting point to “question” this situation. Due to these factors, the state of poverty and structural inequality is mantained and perpetuated, as well as the vicious circle which mantain this situation. In this context, MIDE innitially considered meeting the demand of these microfinancial services among the most vulnerable: the native women, who suffer a tripled discrimination, as women, as native, and for being poor, since discrimination by itself is a form of violence. Later on came up the necessity of analysing and knowing if there had ocurred the expected economic and social changes through microfinances, which had to revert in “a capacities empowerment process1”. It is important to point out that all these years we noticed an institutional evolution in the conception, construction and adjustment of these concepts: impact and empowerment, the latest understood as a conversion process of opportunities into achievements and capacities, through which the subjects increase their action and election freedom. Incumbent on the acheived impacts, we can put them in two large groups: financial and social. In the economic context it concludes that the credit demand met its needs in an important sector of “poor2” and “very poor3” population; contrary to all expectations, the “extreme poor4” are not significant. There have been achieved certain levels of capitalization, improvements in food, housing, clothes, years of education for girls and


Starting from Amartya K. Sen and Martha C. Nussbaum´s theory of capacities, the article tries to establish to what extent can the microcredit trigger a transformation process in the institutions which limit women´s economic, social and political opportunities and restrict their fulfillment ability. 2 The family owns 01 hectare of land, on average, 4 or 5 cattle, and has a complementary craftwork. The family participates in local fairs and has managed to reach a capital of 450€ due to its income. Both boys and girls go to primary school and graduate it. There are less domestic violence problems, machism and alcoholism. 3 The family owns between 1/3 and 01 hectare of land, and less cattle. The average yearly income is of about 120€ euros. Machism and domestic violence is also frecuent in this case. Children go to school but very often only one of them graduate. There are between 6 and 8 children per family. 4 The family doesn´t own land or cattle, its participation in fairs and agricultural markets is minimal; They only sell products with low added value. The yearly income is of about 57€. Children abandon school through lack of money. Domestic violence, machism and alcoholism are frecuent. The house is made of clay bricks without separation between rooms and very often people sleep on the floor with bad hygienic conditions. The family has between 8 and 9 children.


the credit is still used for subsistence activities. in negotiating decisions of economic nature. we can point out that it has been achieved a minimum impact level in gender relationships. and in some specific cases. we can notice that women have a better position within the family unit. socially and economically keeps being considered as part of traditional domestic roles and labours. political representatives. however. As regards social impacts. This conquest is also reflected in a greater presence of public spaces. is more depreciated economically and it has less probabilities of being admited and “viewed” as resources generator in the family economy. since domestic work is still little visible and valued. the unpaid work. in spite of the fact that all Andine women from rural area. but only as a generator of new monetary income. The women clients who have a greater capital level or more studies and have received some sort of technical advice. in its 2 . it has been also achieved a certain family and social acknoledgement of the woman´s part. economic activities and crafts which were traditionally considered as masculine. It is thought that the levels of machist and domestic violence has diminished only among the “poor”. which made women develop a series of abilities to negotiate with the rest of their negotiators. consigning the woman to develop strictly the productive tasks of the microenterprise. This situation encourage the perpetuation of domestic roles assignment. In this group we can find women who have had a successful career and have evolved in creating microenterprises (small business). this practice is still erroneously justified. Nevertheless there are very rare cases. the benefit of which is dedicated mainly to food and education improvement. However. In the situations of poverty and extreme poverty. health and sanitation. for instance when the woman has to move to some other local markets to sell their products. of 15$). which marks these tasks as “inherent to female nature and condition”. Generally these users ask for very small loans ( four or five credits per year. In this sense it is almost impossible to check if it has been a minimum level of empowering on the matter. which are traditionally assigned to women. family or communal network. We should investigate more on the subject. We only talk about small investments and decisions regarding domestic expenses. mainly food. this problem hasn´t been widely approached. consequently domestic labour has moved “only” to women daughters and/or women from the social. managing to selfemploy generally her husband. but the extreme poor haven´t developed significant changes. We don´t know if this role assignment is part of an internal negotiation process.boys. carry out a series of labours to mantain the family food security. one can notice that man has passed to carry out management tasks: economic resources and representing the microenterprise in public fiels. with institutions and companies. when man takes on corresponsability of domestic labour. Out of frustration for lack of access to economic resources. generating a tripled labour burden. these multiple labours have increased women´s work. have entered as a group in markets. in this case the domestic one. Women have diversified their economic activities depending on the increase of the credit amount. within the couple or is just a historical assignment based on sexual labour division. and she´ll have to be away for a few days.

in the form of social oppression of woman. understand. question and become aware of this. personal fields and in the corresponsability and viewing of the domestic labour and machist. psychological and emotional fields. In this case they chose women because they were the most excluded for their condition: woman . as a necessary tool but not sufficient to obtain the empowering of women. emphasize sex differences. with a clear knowledge of theoretical basis of gender inequalities and the structural network that mantain them. expressed in all social operation areas. o Promote the clearing up of the irrational ideological aspects which underlies woman in a subordination place. considering that in Peru every hour there are 10 women victims of domestic and machist( male) violence. as well as the structural network that mantain them.real dimension as a social problem. such as the structural ones. 3 . so that we could fully know. As a result of these facts. domestic and sexual violence. we think that there haven´t been identified or approached any elements that can limit the microfinancial services impact. private. which guarantee the present female condition. but gender inequalities and their origins are not questioned. structure and manifestation of inequality relationships. We are aware of the existence of other guidelines that have to be included in MIDE´s action plan and institutional policy. o Question certain social manifestations from Inca´s historical legacy which mantain an important gender bias burden and female discrimination. since from the institucional point of view it is thought that the empowering of the social abilities can be achieved only by working on the self-esteem and personal development matters. in sexual. both in public. Therefore we suggest a revision of the theoretical frame: o A critical revision of the theoretical and scientific concepts. economical. the inequalities in the use of power and time. as it is sensed that these limitations are fruit of a psychological problem. religious. upheld in the biologism. native and poor. a private couple matter and not as a social drama to fight with. intellectual. We think it is essential to conduct a historical and etnologic research in the creation. there have come up a series of preocupations and unexpected answers. since MIDE´s inicial aim was to facilitate an economic tool to the population that was historically excluded from the formal financial system. it is still considered as a taboo subject. based on the following arguments: We start from reconsidering the credit role. recognizes a hierarchy relationship between sexes. Therefore we suggest a revision of the theorical approaches and a historical research of the origin. prejudices perpetuation and stereotypes related to female gender. o Question the patriarchal ideology: the relationship between Judeo Christian religión and the capitalist economic model. Institutionally. organization and maintenance of these inequalities. this process hasn´t been focused on.

men also have new experiences and are freed from gender stereotypes. the same will happen with men. we can also notice a change in the patriarchal family relationships. We finally think that in a process of gender inequalities surmounting. since the credit. the use. although is offered directly to the woman. the decision of asking for it or not. and usufruct of benefits. This way the institution would be promoting activities and common spaces for discussion.We suggest that MIDE´s institucional intervention should consider a series of activities that can involve both man and woman in a joint and equitable way. seem to be discussed and evaluated with the spouse or family. We also think that it would be a valuable methodological tool to sistematize the negotiation processes within the couple. if this will free women. since some other way it would encourage conflict spaces instead of conciliation and corresponsability in view of the distortion of the historically assigned roles both to women and men. because if women have access to material resources for family benefit. That is. 4 . negotiation and refletion on common rights and responsabilities between genders.

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