Bound Volume Number


Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-5-2015

Capstone Advisor

Dr. Robin Riley

Honors Reader

Dr. Dana Olwan

Capstone Major

Women's and Gender Studies

Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component



microcredit lending, empowerment, women

Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

Gender and Sexuality


Microcredit lending is a practice that has become increasingly common, as people and economic institutions hail its ability to offer economic opportunities to people in the developing world. The practice of lending small amounts to individuals or groups began with the creation of the Grameen Bank, and has since become considered one of the best tools for the economic empowerment of women in the so-called Global South. To best understand the potential, or lack thereof, of microlending practices to enable the further empowerment of women in terms of their economic and social status, I hope to break down the terminology surrounding this topic as it has progressed since its initial use within the Grameen Bank. As microfinance institutions have been created across the globe, their variations and uses of interest have led to problematic circumstances for the people who get these microcredit loans.

In order to understand the benefits and consequences of the practice of targeting women as ideal recipients of microloans, it is necessary to perform a critical analysis of the variations of microlending techniques and their potential for true economic change in the lives of the loan recipients. To do this, I will explore the history of microcredit lending, as well as the terminology that surrounds it. Utilizing my personal experience from working with a company aimed at helping microbusinesses in Santiago, Chile, I criticize the potential of organizations such as Kiva and TechnoServe, which facilitate these types of loans, to understand their true potential for furthering the economic successes of individuals’ and their communities. Furthermore, to understand the variety of microlending institutions formed, far from the original model of the Grameen Bank, I examine the case study of Peru to understand how models of lending practices vary in their strategies and successes within a specific region.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.