Access to financial services improves the lives of women

"Microfinance programs have generally targeted poor women. By providing access to financial services only through women - making women responsible for loans, ensuring repayment through women, maintaining savings accounts for women, providing insurance coverage through women - microfinance programs send a strong message to households as well as to communities.

"Many qualitative and quantitative studies have documented how access to financial services has improved the status of women within the family and the community. Women have become more assertive and confident. In regions where women's mobility is strictly regulated, women have become more visible and are better able to negotiate the public sphere. Women own assets, including land and housing, and play a stronger role in decision making.

"In some programs that have been active over many years, there are even reports of declining levels of violence against women." (

"Today I'm a very respected woman in the community. I have come out of the crowd of women who are looked down upon. Due to the loan that I received... you have made me to be a champion out of nobody." - Rose, Produce Reseller, Uganda