Gender in Microfinance and Cooperatives

Gender should an integrated component of all the activities of the strategy. Gender equality should be ensured in all the stages of cooperative formation and strengthening. In order to bring women forward on par with men, special attention should be given to women. Women should be given priority in the SHG formation process. In order to encourage and enhance women’s participation in management and decision making, the Bylaws of the cooperatives ensure at least 50% women members in the managing Committees. In all the savings and credit SHGs as well as cooperatives 75% membership of women should be targeted. The SHG as well as cooperative trainings and exposure visits should also target at least 50% women’s participation. Gender sensitization trainings should be planned to sensitize both men and women on gender equality. Loans and savings services designed for the cooperatives should focus to address specific consumption, health, education and other life cycle needs of women in addition to enterprise finance.