Micro-Finance: How Economic Empowerment Initiatives Impact Women in Rural Andean Ecuador
Reischl, Hannah H.
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This case study summarizes the experiences of twenty-six women working with and for a non-profit micro-finance organization in Atuntaqui, Ecuador. Recent Studies have highlighted the benefits and barriers of micro-finance loan initiatives for women in developing countries. Participants in this qualitative study include program participant members, staff, and administrators. Results indicate that the effects of small business loan initiatives in Andean communities show benefits to women in the areas of education and social and family structures. However, because women's projects were domestic in nature (e.g. sewing, cooking), they may limit women's ability to participate full in economic structures with equal status to their male counterparts. This study calls for further research on the long-term impact of micro-finance on the women of this community and how it empowers and or impedes on women's ability to thrive in their local economies. ·