The Impact of Microfinance on Women’s Empowerment in Bolivia

May 17, 2012
4:00 pmto5:00 pm

Alejandra Garcia helps facilitate a focus group session with microfinance clients in Bolivia.

Hendricks Hall
Frazier Hearth Rm
UO campus

A Center for Latino/a & Latin American Studies (CLLAS) Grantee Presentation:

Alejandra García Diaz Villamil (PPPM)

How have communal banks in Bolivia impacted the empowerment of women entrepreneurs, particularly in terms of decision-making, leadership, participation in community associations, and self-esteem?

The focus of my research is to bring to light the efforts and struggles of indigenous Bolivian women in peri-urban areas. I provide testimony of some of the inequalities along gender lines in Bolivia. In particular, I focus on women’s struggle to become more independent by being entrepreneurs and clients of microfinance while still being able to be good wives and mothers. The resulting balancing act proves difficult when faced with wage disparity, discrimination, and lack of participation in business opportunities. Nevertheless, women find their calling when they begin a business using a micro loan and are part of a support group. Not only are they able to contribute to the household income, but their self-esteem drastically improves, and they feel greater equality to their male counterparts.