This paper reflects on the strengths and weaknesses of approaches taken by three NGOs in Bangladesh and one NGO based in Bihar in India. All these NGOs consider the provision of microfinance to women to be a major strategy for empowering women. Our reflections in this article draw on a review of the literature on the impacts of credit programmes, and on discussions with women’s groups and NGO staff. To ensure that microfinance programmes fulfil their promise to support women’s empowerment, development workers and researchers need to focus much more on strategies that support the transformation of gender relations.
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