New version page

Study Guide

This preview shows page 1-2-3-4 out of 13 pages.

View Full Document
View Full Document

End of preview. Want to read all 13 pages?

Upload your study docs or become a GradeBuddy member to access this document.

View Full Document
Unformatted text preview:

157 An End to Poverty through Microlending: An Examination of the Need for Credit by Poor, Rural Women and the Success of Microlending Programs I. INTRODUCTION Compared to men, women as a class are less affluent and suffer more intensely because of their economic situation. This is despite evidence that has shown women to be hard workers—in some countries working far more hours in a day than men. Women in a household are often responsible for their family’s sustenance, a life-consuming task in Southern hemisphere countries. Yet their contributions are not recognized. As a result, development programs do not comprehend how poverty affects women and aid rarely reaches them. Women’s poverty is directly linked to a lack of access to economic resources including credit.1 An innovative method of reaching poor women is microlending, which provides small, short-term loans without requiring collateral. This note will discuss the hardships and contributions of women and why credit is an excellent option for the poorest, rural women to utilize in order to rise above poverty. II. POVERTY AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS A. Women and poverty More than one billion people in the world today are living in poverty.2 More in developing countries than developed,3 more in rural than urban areas,4 and more women than men suffer from poverty.5 Poverty is defined 1 See Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women, ¶47, U.N. Doc. A/CONF.177/20 (1995). 2 See id. 3 See id. 4 See Improvement of the situation of women in rural areas, U.N. Economic and Social Council, 54th Sess., Agenda Item 14, at ¶50, U.N. Doc. A/54/123 (1999) [hereinafter Women in Rural Areas]. 158 NEW ENG. JOURNAL OF INT’L & COMP. LAW [Vol. 8:1 as a lack of “a minimally adequate income or as the lack of essential human capabilities.”6 Between 1989 and 1994, thirty-two percent of people in developing countries subsisted on what amounts to one U.S. dollar per day or less.7 Studies show that women are at greater risk of being poor,8 are poorer than men and experience poverty more intensely; this disparity is growing every year.9 Especially in countries experiencing economic, social or political transition, there is a “feminization of poverty.”10 The burden of poverty on women is different in kind and impact.11 A woman is almost always responsible for the home, food for her family and, when she is limited in resources, she must spend more time and exert more labor to provide for her family.12 Even if the household is receiving income, it is in the control of the man,13 who will often not contribute the income to household needs.14 A woman may be prevented by the man and society from getting employment outside of the home to contribute to the household income.15 That would be if she had the time to get an outsid job; women work longer hours than men in developing countries.16 In one African country, a study found “women’s weekly hours of labor activity were close to 70, compared to 30 for men [sic].”17 5 See Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women, ¶47, U.N. Doc. A/CONF.177/20 (1995). 6 Improvement of the situation of women in rural areas, U.N. Economic and Social Council, 54th Sess., Agenda Item 14, at ¶51, U.N. Doc. A/54/123 (1999). 7 See id. 8 See Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women, ¶52, U.N. Doc. A/CONF.177/20 (1995) [hereinafter Fourth World Conference]. 9 See Improvement of the situation of women in rural areas, U.N. Economic and Social Council, 54th Sess., Agenda Item 14, at ¶53, U.N. A/54/123 (1999). 10 See Fourth World Conference at ¶48. 11 See Sustainable Development and International Economic Cooperation: International Cooperation for the Eradication of Poverty in Developing Countries, 50th Sess., Agenda Item 97, ¶16, U.N. Doc. A/50/150 (1995). 12 See Fourth World Conference at ¶50. 13 See Improvement of the situation of women in rural areas: Report of the Secretary-General, U.N. GAOR 52nd Sess., Agenda Item 107, at ¶9, U.N. Doc. A/52/150 (1997). [hereinafter Report of the Secretary-General]. 14 See Women in Rural Areas, at ¶56. 15 See id. at ¶57. 16 See id. at ¶63. 17 Id.2002] ENDING POVERTY THROUGH MICROLENDING 159 Because poverty is inherited, a woman is likely to have children stricken with her same predicament.18 These children will be born weaker and prone to illness because of their mother’s and their own malnutrition.19 If the mother has a female child she, like her mother, will be at the bottom of the food chain.20 If any member of the family falls ill it will be the responsibility of the women to care for them, creating more work and time constraints.21 B. Women’s work The fact that women are poor in developing, rural countries is in no way attributable to a lack of hard work.22 Due to “[g]ender-based inequality within most households,…cultural, social, economic, and institutional spheres…”23 women’s work is invisible, unpaid, and unaccounted for in studies.”24 Wives are responsible for subsistence food production—for which no value is attributed—and if any income is generated by the crops or from livestock, it is considered the income of the husband.25 Women earn only ten percent of the entire world’s income despite making up over fifty percent of the world’s population.26 In fact, “[r]ural women are of critical importance in agricultural production and in the rural economies of developing countries.”27 On average women in these countries “are responsible for more than fifty-five percent of the food grown and comprise sixty-seven percent of the agricultural labour [sic] force.”28 In Latin America and in the Caribbean, 18 See id.at ¶58. 19 See id.at ¶28. 20 See id.at ¶62. 21 See id.at ¶6.5 22 See generally id. at ¶68-74. 23 Id. at ¶56. 24 Report of the Secretary-General at ¶6. 25 See Women in Rural Areas at ¶57. 26 See Yoko Miyashita, Comment, Microfinance and Poverty Alleviation: Lessons from Indonesia’s Village Banking System, 10 PAC. RIM L. & POL’Y 147, 157 (2000). 27 Women in Rural Areas at ¶68. 28 Report of the Secretary-General at ¶7. 160 NEW ENG. JOURNAL OF INT’L & COMP. LAW [Vol. 8:1 women contribute forty percent to agricultural production.29 In Asia women contribute fifty percent of the labor for food production30 and in parts


Loading Unlocking...
Login

Join to view Study Guide and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

or
We will never post anything without your permission.
Don't have an account?
Sign Up

Join to view Study Guide and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

or

By creating an account you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use

Already a member?