Gender and rural microfinance: Reaching and empowering women

This guide is intended as an overview of gender issues for rural finance practitioners. It highlights the questions that need to be asked and addressed in gender mainstreaming. It will also be useful to gender experts wishing to increase their understanding of specific gender issues in rural finance. The guide focuses on rural microfinance, defined as “all financial services that are accessible to poor and low-income rural households and individuals”. IFAD’s focus, as well, is on such poverty-targeted microfinance. The delivery of other types of rural finance involves different challenges and issues, and, currently, a lack of reliable information on gender issues in these other types makes any conclusions difficult.

The guide’s intended users include IFAD’s country programme managers and staff, technical partners and microfinance institutions, gender practitioners working in rural microfinance, and academic researchers in the fields of gender and microfinance.

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