The discrimination in gender is a consistent issue faced by all women in the whole world and it has raised the need to uplift women status. The current study assesses the key role played by the Rural Community Development Programs (RCDP) (a non-banking finance company) in women empowerment and poverty alleviation in Pakistan. The study uses a case study methodology for in-depth analyzes of RCDP and reveals that it brings significant improvement in women’s family well-being and improves their social and economic status by allocating interest-free loans. The current study uses four key variables; education, marital status, age, and family type to investigate their impact on women’s decision-making ability in view of their social and domestic life aspects.
The study evaluates two successful female borrowers as a case study out of six borrowers who have taken a loan from RCDP for carrying out their entrepreneurial activities. The findings further reveal that RCDP provides full time earning source for improving women’s standard of living and it not only works as a mean to provide finance but also serves as a source to increase women confidence and morale which subsequently expands entrepreneurial activities. The demand for microfinance specifically for entrepreneurial activities is increasing day by day in Pakistan. Hence this study will not only evaluate the empowerment which women are getting from the finance and moral uplift provided by the MFIs but will also help the microfinance institutions to know about their role in economic development and how much this has increased their own business capability and capacity.
Keywords: Microfinance Institutions; Rural Community Development Programs; Pakistan; Women Empowerment; Entrepreneurial Activities.
JEL Classification Codes: G2, G21
Madiha Asad Mirza
Ambreen Khursheed (Co-author)
UCP Business School
Faculty of Management Studies
University of Central Punjab