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Renuka for un-biased microfinance
SAARC countries should adopt gender-friendly lending system to aid in economic empowerment of women, Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury said on Friday.

Inaugurating a conference of SAARC nations on microfinance for women, Chowdhury said gender-biased practices were prevalent in the microfinance industry and there were difficulties for individual entrepreneur women in getting loans.

"These issues and challenges need to be looked into and a proper strategy has to be adopted in order to establish viable micro-finance programmes which will make a positive impact on the lives of poorest of the poor women," she said.

She said gender strategies in microfinance need to look beyond just increasing women's access to savings and credit and organising self-help groups to look strategically at how programmes can actively promote women's empowerment.

Chowdhury also expressed concern over the labour market continuing to treat women unequally, not only with regard to employment but also with regard to wages.

The conference, attended by delegations from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, decided to share practices like institution-building, use of improved technologies and undertake training programmes and exchange on a regional basis.
Source :
Economic Times
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