2015 IPFW Student Research and Creative Endeavor Symposium



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Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Jennifer Stewart


Department of English and Linguistics

University Affiliation

Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne


Microcredit refers to a loaning practice where small loans are distributed to groups or individuals, primarily in Third World and developing countries, in an effort to alleviate poverty and provide them income to invest in their own businesses. Women are primarily targeted to receive microcredit, since they often experience the most disadvantaged circumstances. Though its flaws have been pointed out by scholars in the field, microcredit is a significant practice because it helps women break away from poverty and become more empowered and independent individuals. An exigency for microcredit research exists right now, as with any other human development intervention strategy, in order to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses in the system so that better service and support can be provided to those receiving microcredit. Working from a feminist framework and referring to the research of Lombe, Newransky, Kayser, and Raj (2012); Wagner, Rana, Linnemayr, Balya, & Buzaalirwa (2012); Mahmud (2003); and Ray-Bennett (2010), among others, this poster will explain how microcredit can both benefit and harm the women who access it. Several populations are discussed throughout the poster, including men and women living with HIV/AIDS, widows and abandoned women, and women affected by disaster. The results of the research show that microcredit enacts positive change by socially and economically empowering women. However, complications such as men reaping the benefits of microcredit but not their wives, women within the same microcredit group struggling to work together, and misuse of loans can occur; these complications can lead to a negative experience for women receiving microcredit loans. The uncertainty of microcredit highlighted in these benefits and pitfalls raises a question about whether or not microcredit is still a viable method for poverty reduction and woman empowerment. While improvements can be made to the microcredit system, such as extending repayment periods and ensuring that the loans are being used correctly and invested wisely, this poster shows that microcredit is still a successful method that has helped women around the world become more empowered.


Economics | International Economics

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Microcredit in Developing Countries Audrey Whetstone