Journal of Interdisciplinary Feminist Thought


Corporate Finance | Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations | Finance and Financial Management | Women's Studies


One of the original microfinance institutions (MFIs) is Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and the founder of the bank is Muhammad Yunus (2007). Yunus (2007) initiated a discourse that stated that microloans granted to women resulted in, among other things, increased female empowerment. Much of the global microfinance industry (MFI) has mimicked Yunus’ focus on women and thus created a global master narrative which stated that the capitalist system of credit provided to marginalized women can alleviate poverty and empower women. Other development organizations contend that by itself microfinance cannot empower women; empowerment also requires long-term efforts to influence change in the hegemonic patriarchal social and political structures. In this paper I will assess the MFI narrative of empowerment through a consideration of Grameen Bank’s focus on microfinance and the Self-Employed Women’s Association’s (SEWA) focus on both microloans and larger structural changes.