Women with disabilities continue to face significant obstacles to equal participation in economic development initiatives. Microfinance services have been rightly criticised for their failure to deliver poverty alleviation and women’s empowerment. Yet, despite their limitations, these schemes currently dominate the development scene. Disabled women need and want access to credit and associated services, and to the ongoing debate on the strengths and weaknesses of microfinance as an approach. In this article, the multiple barriers facing women with disabilities who wish to obtain microfinance are outlined. Research from Zambia and Zimbabwe highlights key issues facing disabled businesswomen, and recommendations are made that would enable development organisations to mainstream the experience and analysis of disabled women into their programmes.
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