By Gabriela Faz

The International Labor Organization (ILO) points out that inclusion of women as part of the workforce, not only means having access to a job, but having access to a productive and decent job in order to trigger their individual and familial progress.

And although there are important efforts to achieve that goal, there is still much to do, “especially in countries with emerging economies and cultures that have historically assigned women the role of caretakers of children and made them responsible for household chores”, declared Dr. José Carlos Vázquez Parra, researcher in charge of this work.

Therefore, when banks started to grant microcredits, it became an important solution in order to develop a multidisciplinary research work on the economic and consumer habits of Mexican families, and specifically, to analyze its impact on the empowerment of women who are in a vulnerable situation.

Researchers from Tecnológico de Monterrey’s Escuela de Humanidades y Educación, Dr. José Carlos Vázquez Parra, Dr. Florina Arredondo and Dr. Luz María Velázquez, from the Estudios Humanísticos area in Guadalajara and Monterrey, alongside Dr. Raúl Montalvo from EGADE Business School in Guadalajara, were responsible for giving an interesting turn to the econometric data that had been previously obtained by EGADE Business School, and focused on determining how microcredits can affect or benefit women in Mexico.

“The richness of integrating teams of experts with different backgrounds is the ability to use resources of great value and analyze a problem from completely different perspectives”, said Dr. Vázquez. He also stressed that Dr. Montalvo’s collaboration provided a large amount of data on the consumption habits of Mexicans living in low income areas of the Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara, in Mexico.

“We obtained very interesting data such as how Mexican women spent their money, how much they could save, if they had access to some type of microcredit and what they had used it for”, and with that information “we worked towards finding a conclusion on what credits meant for women”, mentioned Dr. Vázquez Parra.

The influence of banking on issues of gender

On the other hand, with the phrase “Poverty in Mexico has the face of a woman”, Dr. Florina Arredondo explained that, historically, poverty has affected women more, and she stressed that in our country, women are also the most affected by unemployment and underemployment; particularly in rural areas, because they are less prepared to cope with life.

“Microcredit with a good orientation towards women can help reduce poverty in Mexico, because a woman in need who manages to get out of poverty also benefits an entire family. Therefore, enabling their economic inclusion with the necessary social support is a moral duty for those who generate sources of employment”, declared Dr. Arredondo.

And precisely with an adequate impulse towards microcredits, an accurate strategy can be achieved to positively impact both traditional homes and single-parent households, which statistically are run by mothers.

Where is this research headed?

This research, published in the magazine Horizontes y Raíces by the University of Havana, was based on the assumption that some microfinance programs may not be generating the best results due to the lack of effective promotion of women’s empowerment, and their inclusion to the economic market through investment and savings.

In the study, women were asked about the hypothetical destination that they would give to the money obtained from a microcredit through three possible options: consumption (90.06%), savings (3.31%) and investment (6.63%), being the latter precisely the necessary variable to achieve greater long-term progress.



Performance When Receiving a Bank Credit




















Source: Una aproximación a los microcréditos como opción para el empoderamiento económico de las mujeres en situación vulnerable. 17 F. G. Arredondo Trapero; R. F. Montalvo Corzo; J. C. Vázquez Parra & L. M. Velázquez Sánchez Horizontes y Raíces · Vol. 4 · No. 2

“Given these results, we determine the need to articulate the way microfinance institutions worked and guide them towards greater training, advice and access to specialized networks that help, from an ethical perspective, the economic empowerment of poor women”, explained Dr. Vázquez Parra.

The importance of ethics in this process
It is very important to mention that ethics in the microcredit world must be directly linked with the economic inclusion of poor individuals.

“This sector of the population does not normally have the necessary guarantees and backing required by a traditional bank loan, but with adequate and ethical access to microcredit, it is possible for a person to subsist by his own means and not depend of others promoting autonomy”, stated Dr. Arredondo.

It is also important to highlight that when imposing rates and conditions for granting a loan, ethics should not be overlooked, since it must be ensured that people who receive a microcredit can pay it in time while using the money for good purposes.

“If an individual uses a loan for the acquisition of a product that will not help him or her to generate income, the economic situation of the person will worsen and then the microloans will not serve to improve the quality of life of these people”, asserted Dr. Arredondo.

Once these scenarios have been analyzed, the next step of this team of multidisciplinary researchers will be to seek an alignment of microcredits granted by banks and microfinance institutions towards economic inclusion and investment, in order to help reduce the poverty gap as well as gender inequality.

“Debts can never be paid with more debt, especially when microcredits are granted without training and they are not intended to promote entrepreneurship and the generation of more resources”, concluded Dr. Vázquez Parra.


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